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Current Research


Research Overview

One of my recent research interests lie in understanding Blockchain technology and its implications in supply chains and other business applications.  In a recent paper in Decision Sciences, we have done an evaluation of this technology for supply chains and tried to identify scenarios under which it would be suitable.  I am also interested in understanding issues like concurrency, consensus, replication and semantics of smart contracts in the context of blockchains.  

Over the years I have studied various aspects of workflow management such as modeling, analysis, verification and optimization, security and delegation, flexibility, monitoring, social BPM and temporal workflows for many years. In recent years, I have looked into ways to automate process redesign and improvement through optimization models. Currently, I am interested in exploring the new DMN (Decision Modeling Notation) standard that allows separate modeling of data from the control flow of a process.  This can lead to a cleaner and more flexible process model.

I have also been studying healthcare IT from DSS perspective and developing ways to streamline patient care and empower them. Another stream of this research relates to analytics. We have analyzed large amounts of data fromj patient social forums to understand how patients can derive more value from them, and to gain deeper insights into them.

I have developed a new interest in deep learning, having worked on feed forward neural networks in the 1990s.  The discovery of more powerful deep learning methods like RNNs and CNNs, and the availability of huge amounts of cheap computing power has breathed new life into this area. For now my interests lie in understanding these techniques and in finding new applications for them. So, for instance, it would be nice to see if an RNN can be trained to learn a process log, and then be able to find noise and identify specific errors in certain log entries. There are numerous other application areas for deep learning methods that remain to be explored.

Sample recent publications:

A. Kumar, R. Liu and Z. Shan. Is Blockchain a Silver Bullet for SupplyChain Management? Technical Challenges and Research Opportunities. Decision Sciences. (Forthcoming 2019) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/deci.12396

K. Zhao, K. Scheibe, J. Blackhurst, and A. Kumar: Supply Chain Network Robustness Against Disruptions: Topological Analysis, Measurement, and Optimization. IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management 66(1): 127-139 (2019)

F. Yang, Bu Zhong, A. Kumar, S-M Chow and A. Ouyang. Exchanging Social Support Online: A Longitudinal Social Network Analysis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients’ Interactions on a Health Forum. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 95(4), 1033-1057, 2018.

David Knuplesch, Manfred Reichert, Akhil Kumar: A framework for visually monitoring business process compliance. Inf. Syst. 64: 381-409 (2017). A. Kumar and R.R.Barton. Controlled violation of temporal process constraints – Models, algorithms and results. Inf. Syst. 64: 410-424 (2017).Rik Eshuis and Akhil Kumar. Converting Unstructured into Semi-Structured Process Models. Data and Knowledge Engineering (forthcoming 2015). (pdf)

Hsin-Jung Cheng and Akhil Kumar. Process Mining on Noisy Logs - Can log sanitization help to improve performance? Decision Support Systems (forthcoming 2015). (pdf)

Akhil Kumar, Sharat R. Sabbella, Russell R. Barton. Managing controlled violation of temporal process constraints. BPM 2015, Innsbruck, Austria, 280-296. (pdf)

David Knuplesch , Manfred Reichert , Akhil Kumar. Visually Monitoring Multiple Perspectives of Business. BPM 2015, Innsbruck, Austria, 263-279. (pdf)

Akhil Kumar, Jianrui Wang: A Framework for Resource-Based Workflow Management. Handbook on Business Process Management (1) 2015 : 507-529 .

Akhil Kumar and Kang Zhao, Making sense of a healthcare forum – Smart keyword and user navigation graphs, ICIS 2013.

Jerry Rolia, Wen Yao, Sujoy Basu, Wei-Nchih Lee, Sharad Singhal, Akhil Kumar and Sharat Sabbella, Tell Me What I Don't Know - Making the most of Social Health Forums, IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI) , Philadephia, September 2013.

Akhil Kumar, R.M. Dijkman and Minseok Song, Optimal resource assignment in workflows for maximizing cooperation, International BPM Conference, Beijing, F. Daniel, J. Wang, and B. Weber (Eds.): BPM 2013, LNCS 8094, 235–250, 2013.

Wen Yao and Akhil Kumar, CONFlexFlow: Integrating Flexible Clinical Pathways into Clinical Decision Support Systems using Context and Rules , Decision Support System 55 (2): 499-515 (2013).

Akhil Kumar, Wen Yao, Chao-Hsien Chu, 'Ensuring Flexible Business Process Compliance with Semantic Constraints using Mixed-Integer Programming (MIP), INFORMS Journal on Computing Summer 2013; Vol. 25, No. 3.

Wen Yao ,  Jerome A. Rolia ,  Sujoy Basu ,  Sharad Singhal , Akhil Kumar: A Context-Aware framework for patient Navigation and Engagement (CANE).  CollaborateCom 2012 : 316-325.

Wen Yao , Akhil Kumar,  Jerome A. Rolia ,  Sujoy Basu ,  Sharad Singhal : Towards a Formal Process-driven Framework for Streamlining Patient-centric Care.  CAiSE Forum 2012 : 179-186.

Wen Yao and Akhil Kumar, Integrating Clinical Pathways into CDSS using Context and Rules – A Case Study in Heart Disease, 2nd ACM SIGHIT International Health Informatics Symposium (IHI 2012), Miami, FL, January 2012, 611-620.

The following older papers have been well cited in literature:

J. Wainer, A. Kumar and P. Barthelmess,  DW-RBAC: A Formal Security Model of Delegation and Revocation in Workflow Systems," Information Systems , Volume 32, Issue 3, May 2007, Pages 365-384.

R. Liu and A. Kumar, "An Analysis and Taxonomy of Unstructured Workflows," Third International Conference on Business Process Management
(BPM 2005),
Nancy, France, Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, September 2005.

J. Wang and A. Kumar , "A Framework for Document-Driven Workflow Systems," Third International Conference on Business Process Management   (BPM 2005) , Nancy, France, Springer-Verlag, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, September 2005.

W.M.P. van der Aalst and A. Kumar, “XML Based Schema Definition for Support of Inter-organizational Workflow,” Information Systems Research, Vol. 14, No. 1, 23-47, March 2003.

Amit Basu , Akhil Kumar : Research Commentary: Workflow Management Issues in e-Business. Information Systems Research 13 ( 1 ) : 1-14 ( 2002 )

Email akhil@psu.edu for a reprint of a paper
All links to papers on this site are for personal/academic use only