Barbara S. Minsker, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. She is also a consultant on several projects relating to optimal groundwater monitoring and remediation design. Dr. Minsker holds a B.S. (Cornell University 1986) in operations research and industrial engineering and Ph.D. (Cornell University 1995) in environmental systems engineering. From 1986 to 1990, she worked as an environmental policy analyst at ICF Incorporated and Wade Miller Associates in Washington, D.C. From 1995 to 1996, Dr. Minsker was a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Vermont's Research Center for Groundwater Remediation Design.
Dr. Minsker has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in civil and environmental systems analysis, including introductory systems analysis for civil and environmental engineers, environmental systems analysis, environmental risk assessment and management, uncertainty in environmental and water resources decision making, and optimization methods for engineering design.
Dr. Minsker has research interests in environmental systems analysis, investigating improved methods for modeling complex environmental systems so that informed management-level decisions can be made under conditions of uncertainty. Using machine learning approaches such as genetic algorithms, decision trees, support vector machines, and artificial neural networks, innovative and cost-effective solutions to complex environmental problems are being investigated. Recent applications include long-term groundwater monitoring and remediation design.
Dr. Minsker is a member of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the ASCE Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI), the Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education. She chaired the ASCE/EWRI Task Committee on Long-Term Groundwater Monitoring and is a member of the ASCE/EWRI Groundwater Management Committee, Environmental and Water Resource Systems Committee, and Evolutionary Computation Task Committee. She serves as Associate Editor for Water Resources Research and is a member of the AGU Groundwater Committee.
Dr. Minsker received the National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career (CAREER) Award in 1998 and the Army Young Investigator Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2000. In 2001, she was named a Center for Advanced Study Fellow. In 2003, Dr. Minsker was awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize "for optimization of ground water remediation and monitoring design and effective and efficient use of genetic algorithms to solve complex civil engineering problems." She has been an Arthur and Virginia Nauman Faculty Scholar since 2001.