Welcome to David Goldberg

  • New Faculty Year: 2017

David Goldberg has joined the faculty of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE) at Cornell. Goldberg comes to Cornell after six years as an associate professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Goldberg’s work is in applied probability, with a focus on topics including inventory and queueing  models, combinatorial optimization, robust optimization, and multi-arm bandits. “Georgia Tech is a big logistics school,” says Goldberg. “While I was there I started working on problems in that space and found I could bring a new way of looking at logistical problems using mathematical probabilities.”

As a high school student in northern New Jersey Goldberg found himself drawn to math and science. He was involved in a Rutgers University program designed for high school students interested in discrete math.  “But I was not only interested in math,” says Goldberg. “In fact, my interests were fairly broad. I was a bookstore rat as a kid and would read everything.”

This broad set of interests steered Goldberg to Columbia University, where he could major in computer science, minor in operations research and applied math, and still take courses outside of these areas. “I took a significant dose of non-technical classes at Columbia,” says Goldberg. “At one point I considered law school as an option.” While at Columbia Goldberg found several opportunities to do research with several different faculty members. 

“As an undergraduate I saw that I really liked doing research. I also got to see how professors operated and it seemed like a good life. We get to think broadly about big questions.” It became clear to Goldberg that he should go on to earn a Ph.D. and join the academic world. From Columbia Goldberg went to MIT, where he earned a Ph.D. in operations research. The Operations Research Center at MIT is an interdisciplinary group drawing researchers from the Sloan School of Management, the Computer Science Department, the Mathematics Department, and the School of Engineering.

“I worked with Professor David Gamarnik and it was a natural fit,” says Goldberg. “Our research interests were closely aligned. We were both interested in probability, broadly, and in the math of complex networks more specifically.” In his position at Georgia Tech Goldberg applied what he learned at MIT to long-identified problems affecting entire classes of logistical situations. “There is a large academic community that looks at these sorts of problems and over time they have identified sticking points that come up repeatedly,” says Goldberg.

Goldberg is using probability to examine these well-known problems and hypothesize ways around them. “I realized a while ago that much of what humans think about is really some kind of stochastic process or random walk,” says Goldberg. “If you can really understand how random walks go, you can understand how many things work.”

“Cornell was incredibly welcoming and supportive during the interview process,” says Goldberg. “I am happy to be here and excited to be part of a very strong department with a long history of excellence.”


More Spotlights