Kevin Hutson has always been interested in applying mathematics to the real world. After earning a masters degree, he worked for a manufacturing company as an operations research analyst trying to help them build a new and efficient manufacturing plant and warehouse. After the plant's successful completion, Dr. Hutson gave up this industrial career to pursue mathematics because he wanted to investigate problems on a deeper level and pursue teaching. However, Dr. Hutson never quite lost the itch to apply his work to a real-world setting and to show students the applications of what they are learning. Whether it's in his classes, research, or consulting projects, he tries to involve students not only in theoretical study of mathematics, but also in how it is used in the real world. In reconition of his dedication to engaged learning, Dr. Hutson received the 2016 South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Excellence in Teaching Award.
Kevin Hutson's research area is known as Operations Research. It is an area of mathematics that overlaps with many fields, including management science, computer science, and industrial and systems engineering. It focuses on modeling real-world scenarios mathematically and trying to find optimal solutions. For instance, these scenarios could include finding the best ways to assign students to classes, or to route individuals through traffic, or to rank web pages based on queries. Dr. Hutson's early research focused on communications networks and how to efficiently build them and route packages through them.
Recently, Dr. Hutson began research in the area of ranking algorithms with applications to sports ranking. Together with John Harris, he collaborates with the NCAA to help rank FCS football teams leading up to the playoffs. Many of his undergraduate projects have a community focus, working with the Greenville County School District, the Greenville Health System, and the City of Greenville. Together with Liz Bouzarth and John Harris, he created Math and the Mouse, a May Experience course that brings Furman students to Walt Disney World for an inside look into how mathematics, operations research, and statistics contribute to the operations of this popular vacation destination.
Dr. Hutson has been successful in incorporating students in many areas of his research. In 2011, he received an HHMI Distinguished Mentor Award for mentoring undergraduates in research. He has published in a variety of peer-reviewed research journals and has contributed to articles in ESPN The Magazine, espn.com, and the Huffington Post Science Blog.