PhD Alumna Dietrich is #27 on Fast Company's List of the 100 Most Creative People in Business
|Brenda Dietrich, ORIE Ph.D. '86|
As Vice President of the Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences Department at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Brenda Dietrich, ORIE Ph.D. '86 leads IBM's research efforts in applying advanced mathematics to increase efficiency, reporting directly to the Director of IBM Research. The June 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine includes Dietrich on its list of the "100 Most Creative People in Business." The magazine had previously published a profile of Dietrich,who last visited Cornell in 2007. As a Ph.D. student, she worked under the guidance of Professor Robert G. Bland.
In selecting the 100 individuals, "we looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn't be ignored," the Fast Company editors wrote. Dietrich is one of at least three Cornell engineering alumni on the list, which also included Jon Rubinstein, BS EE '78 M.Eng. '79, formerly head of hardware engineering at Apple and now head of R&D and product development at Palm and Padmasree Warrior, MS CBE '84, formerly chief technology officer at Motorola and now at Cisco. (Mr. Rubinstein was named CEO of Palm on June 11, 2009).
Fast Company notes that Dietrich's "team at IBM studies behind-the-scenes processes in business -- from manufacturing scheduling to logistics to resource management -- to apply advanced mathematics to increase efficiency." Dietrick commented that "our ability to apply Operations Research methods and models to real-world problems has increased dramatically in the past 25 years, both through computational capacity enabling us to solve realistically sized problems, and through innovation in modeling and problem framing allowing us to address a wider domain." Dietrich has served as President of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), holds a dozen patents, and has coauthored numerous publications.
Laura McLay, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research at Virginia Commonwealth University, recently posted an entry on her blog, "Punk Rock Operations Research," with the caption "Brenda Dietrich shows that OR is creative." Michael Trick, who also served as President of INFORMS, notes in his blog that "it is too bad that Brenda is described [in the Fast Company citation] as a mathematician (which she is) rather than the more specific and accurate 'Operations Researcher."
Others on the Fast Company list include philanthropist Melinda Gates, electric car company CEOShai Agassi, artist Damien Hirst, FDIC head Sheila Bair, former model Tyra Banks, writer/illustrator Maurice Sendak, author Nora Ephron, and cable TV executive Bonnie Hammer. Fast company, indeed.
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