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Tim Laska
Tim Laska
A Priori, Ltd
LOCATION: Loveland, OH
WEBSITE: Not indicated
BLOG: Not indicated

I am a PhD chemical engineer from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (PhD '91). I received my bachelors of chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota (B. ChE '86).

Mathematica has been one of my go to tools since the late 80s when I used it to model excitation envelopes of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance pulse sequences for my PhD thesis.

I spent 20 years in the R&D and engineering departments in the beauty division of Procter & Gamble. I started the modeling and simulation program in the beauty division in the year 2000 where I was initially the sole modeler. Interestingly, I created a discrete event model of the product development process to estimate the business benefits to justify the modeling program. At the time, the beauty care division had over 20,000 SKUs (i.e., products with different labels). To accommodate the massive number of potential modeling requests, I needed to become expert at generalizing problems, identifying fast accurate and inexpensive technologies to model those problems, and integrating and automating those technologies into a reusable simulation workflow. Model inputs and outputs can be highly technical and specialized. I never considered a workflow complete until I reduce the interface into business understandable inputs and business understandable outputs.

Initially, I needed to be a jack of all trades with respect to modeling. As more people joined the group, my focus became more Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) related looking at non-Newtonian flows in various devices.

After Procter & Gamble, I spent 4 years as Dir. of modeling and simulation at Sundrop fuels modeling several aspects of a high temperature gasification biofuels process.

Over the last decade and 1/2 I have spent a lot of time automating workflows in an HPC environment using Python and shell scripting. As a result, some of my Mathematica skills have atrophied a bit. I am looking forward to brushing off some of the rust and becoming current in the new capabilities in the Wolfram language. Of all the tools that I have used, the Mathematica notebook has the longest shelf life. I have old Microsoft office documents that will no longer open. As a result, if there is a document that I want to preserve, I will be doing it in a Mathematica notebook.

When I am not modeling, I am an avid bicyclist as it is one of the few activities that is gentle on my knees (I am an old-time hockey player with a knee injury).