Keith Zorn



Areas of Interest

Global optimization, Combinatorics, Computational complexity, Numerical computing, Stochastic optimization, Analytics, Statistics, Algorithm development, Software design.


Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, August 2007 - January 2013
  • Advisor: Nick Sahinidis
  • GPA: 3.86/4.00
Pittsburgh, PA
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
B.S. Chemical Engineering, August 1998 - May 2002
  • GPA: 3.70/4.00
Troy, NY

Work Experience

Hydrogenics / TSB
Project Engineer, October 2002 – August 2007
Rochester, NY
Duties performed:
  • Statistical analysis and system performance assessment
  • Algorithm and test protocol development
  • Component modeling and systems optimization
  • Benchmarking, goal tracking, and problem resolution

Member of several multidisciplinary teams aiding in the design, operation, and optimization of hydrogen fuel cell applications for General Motors. Assisted in the evolution of General Motors fuel cell technology from a single, prototype engine to a robust and sustainable vehicle fleet.

Software Development Experience

Branch and Reduce Optimization Navigator (BARON)
The Optimization Firm, Carnegie Mellon University
BARON is a general purpose, commercial, global optimization solver for problems with nonlinear constraints and/or integer variables.
Applications investigated:
  • Pooling problems
  • Stochastic optimization
  • Production planning
  • Supply chain management
  • Reactor network synthesis
  • Heat exchanger networks
  • Network flow
  • Phase stability
  • Distillation sequencing

Designed, developed, and implemented algorithms to exploit underlying problem structures and expedite convergence to globally optimal solutions. Affected problems include greater than 30% of standard literature test sets spanning a variety of industrial and engineering applications.

Computing Skills

Languages C, C++, PERL, Fortran, Pascal, Python, Excel Visual Basic, Bourne sh
Operating Systems UNIX, DOS, OSX, Windows

Publications and Technical Presentations

  • “Global Optimization of Nonconvex Problems with Intermediate Bilinear Structures.” K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. Submitted.
  • “Computational Experience with Applications of Bilinear Cutting Planes.” K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. Submitted.
  • “Global Optimization of Nonconvex Problems with Intermediate Polynomial Structures." K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. In Progress.
  • “Reformulation Linearization Techniques: Enhancing BARON’s Relaxations for Polynomial Programs.” K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. INFORMS Annual Meeting. Charlotte, NC. (2011).
  • “Optimal Operation and Design of Pooling and Other Bilinear Networks.” K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. AIChE Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN. (2011).
  • “Reformulation of Binomial and Polynomial Programs.” Annual Meeting of the Center for Advanced Process Decision-Making. K. Zorn and N.V. Sahinidis. Pittsburgh, PA. (2011).

Relevant Coursework

  • Planning and Scheduling
  • Linear Programming
  • Integer Programming
  • Advanced Process Systems Engineering
  • Statistical Computing
  • Mathematical Techniques in Chemical Engineering

Teaching Assistantships

  • Mathematical Methods of Chemical Engineering (2008-2010)
  • Mathematical Techniques in Chemical Engineering (2008)
  • Process Systems Engineering Seminar (2009)
  • Chemical Product Design (2009)
  • Optimization Modeling and Algorithms (2009)
  • Advanced Topics in Linear Optimization (2011).

Honors and Awards

  • John E. Swearingen Fellowship
  • Lubrizol Fellowship
  • Carnegie Mellon Dean’s Fellowship
  • Rensselaer Medal Scholarship
  • Full research assistantship for graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University

Activities and Interests

  • Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association Officer
  • Graduate Supervisor for the Carnegie Mellon AIChE ChemE Car Team
  • Defensive captain for roller hockey and intermural floor hockey teams
  • Amateur photographer: