ORIE Ph.D. alum Brenda J. Dietrich elected to the National Academy of Science
Election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) is “among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer,“ according to the Academy. This year, Brenda J. Dietrich, ORIE Ph.D. ’86 joined the ranks of those receiving this honor, “for contributions to engineering algorithms, frameworks, and tools to solve complex business problems,” according to the official citation.
Dietrich, who joined IBM as a member of the research staff while completing her ORIE doctorate, has conducted research in manufacturing scheduling, inventory management, service resource management, transportation logistics, auctions, integer programming, greedy algorithms, and combinatorial duality. Her early work at IBM involved applying mathematical models to improve the performance of IBM manufacturing lines.
For over a decade she led a worldwide team focused on mathematics, statistics, data mining, operations research and related fields as Vice President of Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences. She became an IBM Fellow, the company’s “pre-eminent technical distinction,” in 2007. She also served as Chief Technology Officer and Strategist for Business Analytics in the IBM Software Group.
Dietrich’s Ph.D. thesis, “A Unifying Interpretation of Several Combinatorial Dualities,” was written under the guidance of ORIE Professor Robert G. Bland. “I came to Cornell to study mathematics, but soon decided that I wanted to solve problems in addition to proving theorems, and moved to the ORIE department,” said Dietrich.
A Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), Dietrich has served as the professional society’s president, and has received multiple awards from the organization.
Dietrich joins Jon Kleinberg, Christine Shoemaker and Eva Tardos as NAE members from Cornell’s Field of Operations Research. ORIE emeritus faculty members Richard W. Conway BME ’54 Ph.D. ’58 and William L. Maxwell ’57 Ph.D. ‘61 are members, as are ORIE alums Robert Bixby MS ’71 Ph.D. ‘72, Alfred Blumstein AEP ’51 Ph.D ‘60, Arthur Geoffrion BME ’59 MS ’61 and Ward Whitt Ph.D. ’69.