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Now Available: Innovators Under 35 2013 See The 2013 List »

Alexander Fay, 31

Transportation

Asea Brown Boveri

Train buff Alexander Fay jumped at his PhD advisor’s suggestion to design knowledge-based software to help human railway-traffic controllers in their struggle to keep trains running on time. When train breakdowns occur, some controllers tinker with track signals to reroute trains; others call for backup trains. Their decisions ripple through the rail system. Studies estimate $200 in lost economic opportunities for each minute a passenger train is late. Given Europe’s congested rail networks, the potential savings from better management is huge. After interviewing dozens of controllers, Fay used fuzzy-logic principles to integrate 150 when-this-occurs-do-that rules into his software. German Railways is now implementing his computer program, which standardizes the most efficient responses to service disruptions, in one of its regional control centers. Fay’s methods also apply to other systems. At Zürich, Switzerland, construction giant Asea Brown Boveri, he is developing software that captures the know-how of process and control engineers to reduce problems in designing and running pharmaceutical, chemical and energy plants.

2002 TR35 Winners

Andrew Barrows

Transportation

Elisabeth M. Belding-Royer

Telecommunications

Vincent Berger

Telecommunications

Eric Bonabeau

Software

Daniel Branagan

Materials

Arnaud Brignon

Hardware

Howie Choset

Hardware

Michelle Effros

Telecommunications

Alexander Fay

Transportation

Claire Gmachl

Telecommunications

Michael Hansen

Hardware

Tom Hyongsok Soh

Telecommunications

Matt Keyser

Energy

Kara Kockelman

Transportation

Paul Krajewski

Transportation

Der-Horng Lee

Transportation

Ihor Lys

Hardware

Larry Mianzo

Transportation

Chahab Nastar

Software

Bill Nguyen

Telecommunications

Rajesh Reddy

Telecommunications

Vincent Rijmen

Software

Jonathan Rosenberg

Telecommunications

Steven Shaw

Energy

Anna Stefanopoulou

Transportation

Lisa Su

Hardware

Vahid Tarokh

Telecommunications

Steve Tuecke

Software

Les Welch

Transportation

Sean Willems

Software

Neil Young

Entertainment

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