Faculty Directory
Wei Chen

Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Wilson-Cook Professor in Engineering Design


2145 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

847-491-7019Email Wei Chen


Integrated Design Automation Lab


Mechanical Engineering


Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Graduate Program


Ph.D. Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

M.S. Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX

B.S. Mechanical Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China

Research Interests

Simulation-based design under uncertainty; data science in design and advanced manufacturing; stochastic multiscale analysis and materials design; design of metamaterials; multidisciplinary optimization; consumer choice modeling and decision-based design

Dr. Chen is the Director of the Integrated Design Automation Laboratory (IDEAL), Director of the Predictive Science and Engineering Design (PSED) Cluster, and Co-Director of the Design Cluster. Her research goal is to develop rational and computationally efficient design methods based on data science, optimization, statistical inference, and decision analysis for use in engineering design and manufacturing problems. Her current research involves close collaborations with experts in mechanics, manufacturing, materials science and engineering, social science, and computer science. In addition to the listed interests, other topics include risk analysis, model validation and uncertainty quantification, robust shape and topology optimization, deep learning, network analysis, microstructure characterization and reconstruction, and certification of additive manufacturing models.

Significant Recognition

  • Charles Russ Richards Memorial Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Pi Tau Sigma, 2021
  • Member of National Academy of Engineering (NAE), elected 2019
  • Ver Steeg Faculty Award, The Graduate School, Northwestern University, 2018
  • Design Automation Award, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Design Engineering Division, 2015
  • Best Paper Award, ASME Design Automation Conference, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2019
  • Fellow, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 2009 - present
  • Ralph R. Teetor Education Award, Society of Automotive Engineering, 2006
  • Intelligent Optimal Design Prize, 18th International Conference on Structural Mechanics in Reactor Technology, 2005
  • National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Award, 1996 - 2001
  • ASME Pi Tau Sigma Gold Medal achievement award, 1998
  • Black & Decker Best Paper Award, 1998
  • Alcoa Foundation Research Award, 1998
  • Sigma Xi Doctoral Dissertation Award, Georgia Tech Chapter, 1996
  • Associate Fellow, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA), 2003 - present

Significant Professional Service

  • President, International Society of Structural & Multidisciplinary Optimization (ISSMO)
  • Editor-in-Chief, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design
  • Review Editor, Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
  • Associate Editor, Design Science
  • Elected Member of Executive Committee, International Society of Structural and Multidisciplinary Design (ISSMO) (2015-present)
  • Elected Member, Executive Committee of ASME Design Engineering Division (2009-2015); Chair (2013-2014)
  • Elected Member, Advisory Board of the Design Society (2007-2013)
  • Associate Editor, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design (2003-2006; 2010-2013)
  • Associate Editor, SIAM/ASA Journal on Uncertainty Quantification (JUQ) (2015-2017)
  • Department Editor, IIE Transactions (Department on “Design Engineering and Product Realization) (2014-2017)
  • Associate Editor, Engineering Optimization (2007-2009)
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Design and Manufacturing Automation (2000-2003)

Selected Publications

Chen, W., Hoyle, C. and Wassenaar, H-J., Decision-based Design: Integrating Consumer Preferences into Engineering Design, Springer, 2012.

Wang, L., Tao. S., Zhu, P., and Chen, W., “Data-Driven Topology Optimization With Multiclass Microstructures Using Latent Variable Gaussian Process“, Journal of Mechanical Design, 143(3), https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4048628, 2021.

Van Beek, A., Ghumman, U.F., Munshi, J., Tao, S., Chien T-Y., Galasubramanian G., Plumlee, M., Apley, D., and Chen, W., “Scalable Adaptive Batch Sampling in Simulation-Based Design with Heteroscedastic Noise”, Journal of Mechanical Design, 143(3): 031709, DOI: doi.org/10.1115/1.4049134, Mar 2021.

Zhang, Yi., Tao, S., Chen, W., and Apley, D., “A Latent Variable Approach to Gaussian Process Modeling with Qualitative and Quantitative Factors”, Technometrics, DOI: 10.1080/00401706.2019.1638834, 2019. 

Zhao, H., Wang, Y., Lin, A., Hu, B., Yan, R., McCusker, J., Chen, W., McGuinness, D., Schadler, L., and Brinson, C.B., “NanoMine Schema: An Extensible Data Representation for Nanocomposites”, APL Materials, 6, 111108; https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5046839, 2018/

Li, X., Zhang, Y., Zhao, H., Burkhart, C., Brinson, L.C., Chen, W., “A Transfer Learning Approach for Microstructure Reconstruction and Structure-property Predictions”, Scientific Report, 8, article number: 13461, 2018.

Ghumman, U.F., Iyer, A., Dulal, R., Munshi, J., Wang, A., Chien, T., Balasubramanian, G., and Chen, W., “A Spectral Density Function Approach for Active Layer Design of Organic Photovoltaic Cells”, Journal of Mechanical Design, Special Issue on Design of Engineered Materials and Structures, doi:10.1115/1.4040912, 2018.

Bostanabad, R., Liang, B., Gao, J., Liu, W-K., Cao, J., Zeng, D., Su, X., Xu, H., Li, Y., and Chen, W. (2018). “Uncertainty Quantification in Multiscale Simulation of Woven Fiber Composites”. Computational Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering , 338(8), 2018.

Bostanabad, R., Zhang, Y., Li, X., Kearney, T., Brinson, L. C., Apley, D., Wing K., and Chen, W., “Computational Microstructure Characterization and Reconstruction: Review of the State-of-the-art Techniques”, Progress in Materials Science, 95, June 2018.

Lee, W-K, Yu, S., Engel, C.J., Reese, T., Rhee, D., Chen, W., and Odom, T.W., "Concurrent Design of Quasi-Random Photonic Nanostructures", PNAS, 114(33), 2017.

Wang, M., Huang, Y., Contractor, N., Fu, Y., and Chen, W., “Modeling Customer Preferences using Multidimensional Network Analysis in Engineering Design”, Design Science, 2(11), 2016.

Jiang, Z., Chen, S., Apley, D., and Chen, W., “Reduction of Epistemic Uncertainty in Simulation-Based Multidisciplinary Design”, ASME Journal of Mechanical Design, 138(8), 2016.

Xu, H., Liu, R., Choudhary, A., and Chen, W., "A Machine Learning-Based Design Representation Method for Designing Heterogeneous Microstructures", Journal of Mechanical Design, in press, 2015.

Arendt, P., D. Apley, and Chen, W., “Quantification of Model Uncertainty: Calibration, Model Discrepancy, and Identifiability,” Journal of Mechanical Design, 134(10), 2012.

Chen, S., Chen, W., and Lee, S., “Level Set Based Robust Shape and Topology Optimization under Random Field Uncertainties”, Structural and Multidisciplinary Optimization, 41(4), pg 507, 2010.

In the Classroom

Professor Chen has taught the courses: Intro to Mechanical Design and Manufacturing, Engineering Design (Capstone Design), Computational Methods for Engineering Design, Engineering Optimization for Product Design & Manufacturing, and Advanced Computational & Statistical Methods for Engineering Design.

Wei Chen in the News