ORIE-Affiliated Researchers Win Top INFORMS Prizes
Many of this year's top prizes awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) went to researchers affiliated with ORIE. Ph.D. alumni Ward Whitt, Gerard Cornuéjols, Brenda Dietrich, Guillermo Gallego and Tim Carnes received awards, together with field member Jon M. Kleinberg and post-doctoral associate Susan Hunter.
The Frederick W. Lanchester Prize, awarded for the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English, went to Cornell professors David Easely and Jon M. Kleinberg(left) for their book Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World. Tisch University Professor Kleinberg, in computer science, is a member of the field of operations research at Cornell. Easely is Scarborough Professor of Social Science and the first chair of Cornell's newly formed university-wide Department of Economics. Their book grew out of a popular Cornell course on networks.
Gerard P. Cornuéjols Ph.D. '78 won INFORMS John von Neumann Theory Prize, which is awarded annually to a scholar who has made fundamental, sustained contributions to theory in operations research and the management sciences. Cornuéjols is IBM Professor of Operations Research at Carnegie Mellon University. His research contributions are in mathematical programming, in particular the solution of optimization problems for which some or all of the variables are constrained to integer values.
Brenda L. Dietrich Ph.D. '86 was awarded the George E. Kimball Medal in recognition of distinguished service to INFORMS and to the profession of operations research and the management sciences. Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President of the Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences Department at IBM, and is a former president of INFORMS.
Ward Whitt Ph.D. '69 won the INFORMS Expository Writing Award, which honors an operations researcher whose publications demonstrate a consistently high standard of expository writing. Whitt is a professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Columbia University. His research is in queueing theory and its applications, particularly to telecommunications systems. From 1977 to 2002 he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories and AT&T Laboratories.
Tim Carnes Ph.D. '10 came in second in the George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award competition. The award, presented by INFORMS President Rina Schneuer, is given for the best dissertation in any area of operations research and the management sciences that is innovative and relevant to practice. Carnes' Ph.D. thesis, Approximation Algorithms Via the Primal-dual Schema: Applications of the Simplex Dual-Ascent Method to Inventory, Routing and Assignment Problems, presents new computationally efficient algorithms for a number of important problems in logistics, ranging from inventory management and medical air transport scheduling to work-load balancing. Carnes is currently a post-doctoral fellow at MIT.
Susan Hunter is currently a postdoctoral associate in ORIE. She recently received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She won the Student Paper Award of the INFORMS Computing Society. The winning paper, with her advisor Raghu Pasupathy of Virginia Tech, considers a nonlinear optimization problem in which objective and constraint function values for any of a finite number of candidate solutions can only be estimated, for example by running a simulation model. The paper shows how best to allocate a simulation budget so as to maximize the rate at which the probability of selecting the wrong candidate solution to the optimization problem decays as the budget increases.
With Garrett van Ryzin, Guillermo Gallego Ph.D. '88 won the prize for historical works awarded by the Revenue Management Pricing Section of INFORMS. Gallego is a professor and former chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research at Columbia University, where van Ryzin is Paul W. Montrone Professor and Chair of Decision, Risk, and Operations in the Graduate School of Business.
Several of the prizes awarded to these ORIE-affiliated researchers are named for key figures in operations research. Frederick W. Lanchester, George E. Kimball, John von Neumann, and George B. Dantzig are among the intellectual founders the field. Lanchester, a pioneering aeronautical engineer, developed mathematical models of combat in 1914. Kimball was a theoretical chemist who developed operations research methods during World War II. Mathematician von Neumann is responsible for important innovations in a diverse array of fields, from quantum physics to computer science, as well as game theory and linear programming. George B. Dantzig, also a mathematician, developed the simplex method of linear programming among his contributions to operations research.