Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam

Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam
Location: E7 6316
Phone: 519-888-4567 x43282


Kumaraswamy Ponnambalam is a Professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo.
He has previously worked at several academic institutions including the College of Engineering, Guindy in Chennai, India; the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands. In the past, Professor Ponnambalam has been a Research Assistant Professor and the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies in the Systems Design Engineering department at UWaterloo.
His research interests include design optimization under uncertainty, mainly pertaining to issues in civil, chemical, electrical and environmental engineering. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the many applications, much of the work has been done in collaboration with colleagues from both within and outside the university. In addition, Professor Ponnambalam is also working in the Application of Intelligent Systems to hydrology and water resources, health decision making, control of satellite communications, and fault detection analysis.
He has received research funding from the Communitech Database Grant, the FEDDEV Grant, NSERC Engage Grant, NSERC Discovery Grant, Ontario Research Fund, MITACS Doctoral Scholarship, and CITO Industrial Research Grant. As a result of his research work, Professor Ponnambalam has received numerous awards including the “Distinguished Performance in Research, Teaching, and Service, Faculty of Engineering Award”, from the University of Waterloo in 2006; and the “Best Student Paper Award” at the 2011 International Conference of Financial Engineering.

Research Interests

  • Design Optimization under Uncertainty, High-level Design of Software Structures, Systems Theory & Optimization, Software Engineering, Sustainable Development, Large Scale Optimization, Reliability Based Design of Large Systems, Sustainable Product Design, Societal & Environmental Systems, Modeling & Simulation, Application of Intelligent Systems, Water

Scholarly Research

Reviewer for many journals including Water Resources Research, ASCE journals, Water Resources Management, Fuzzy Sets and Systems, among others. Organized a special session in Data mining in large scale health care data bases, IASTED, Montreal, May 2006. Member of a three-person committee (two members from outside the university) that evaluated the Music Department of the Conrad Grebel College, 2006 for three days.

Industrial Research

Consultant for EION and TELESAT, Ottwa, 2006-2007 on improving the efficiency of internet data flow in satellite based networks. Consultant for 2004-2006 Fault Detection and Control, Toronto on designing fault detection system software for oil refineries.


  • 1987, Doctorate Civil Engineering (Systems Analysis and Design), University of Toronto, Canada
  • 1981, Master's Engineering Hydrology, University College, Galway - The National University of Ireland, Ireland
  • 1979, Bachelor's Civil Engineering, Madras University, India


  • 2006 Distinguished performance in Research, Teaching, and Service, Faculty of Engineering Award, UW


  • BME 411 - Optimization and Numerical Methods
    • Taught in 2021
  • SYDE 262 - Engineering Economics of Design
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021
  • SYDE 531 - Design Optimization Under Probabilistic Uncertainty
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • SYDE 621 - Mathematics of Computation
    • Taught in 2019
  • SYDE 631 - Time Series Modelling
    • Taught in 2023
  • SYDE 730 - Selected Topics in Societal-Environmental Systems
    • Taught in 2024
  • SYDE 760 - Topics in Engineering Design
    • Taught in 2021

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Mahootchi, M and Ponnambalam, K and Tizhoosh, HR, Response to the comments by Joodavi, A., and Mozafari, M. on “Operations optimization of multireservoir systems using storage moments equations” by M. Mahootchi, K. Ponnambalam, HR Tizhoosh [Adv. Water Resour. 33 (2010) 1150--1163], Advances in Water Resources, , 2016
  • Hanafizadeh, Payam and Qahi, Amir Hossein Mortazavi and Ponnambalam, Kumaraswamy, Robust Option through Binomial Tree Method, International Journal of Strategic Decision Sciences (IJSDS), 42, 2015
  • Mousavi, S Jamshid and Alizadeh, Hosein and Ponnambalam, Kumaraswamy, Storage-yield analysis of surface water reservoirs: the role of reliability constraints and operating policies, Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 2051, 2014
  • Mahootchi, Masoud and Tizhoosh, Hamid R and Ponnambalam, Kumaraswamy, Oppositional extension of reinforcement learning techniques, Information Sciences, 101, 2014
  • ADAMS, BJ and PONNAMBALAM, K, Closed-loop policies as available in stochastic dynamic programming (SDP) are, Stochastic and Statistical Methods in Hydrology and Environmental Engineering: Volume 4: Effective Environmental Management for Sustainable Development, 389, 2013

In The News

Graduate studies