Areas of Focus
At the annual Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) conference, a number of faculty members and students from Georgia Tech’s Stewart School of Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISyE) received awards for presentations and papers. The conference was held from October 22- 25, 2017, in Houston, Texas.
Anderson-Interface Chair and Professor Shabbir Ahmed and H. Milton and Carolyn J. Stewart School Chair and Professor Edwin Romeijn were elected as 2017 INFORMS Fellows.
INFORMS Fellows are examples of outstanding lifetime achievement in operations research and the management sciences. They have demonstrated exceptional accomplishments and made significant contributions to the advancement of OR/MS over a period of time.
Coca-Cola Professor Alan Erera has been elected vice president/president-elect of INFORMS’ Transportation Science and Logistics Society (TSL). His term as president of TSL will begin in 2019. TSL is one of INFORMS’ largest societies, with nearly 900 members whose research interests focus on applied operations research and management science for the transportation and logistics sector.
Anderson-Interface Chair and Professor Shabbir Ahmed, A. Russell Chandler III Chair and Institute Professor George Nemhauser, and Juan Pablo Vielma (Ph.D. IE 09) won the INFORMS Computing Society Prize for their pioneering work on mixed integer linear programming formulations for piece-wise linear functions.
George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Turgay Ayer; Schneider National Chair in Transportation and Logistics and Professor Chip White; Ph.D. students Can Zhang and Chenxi Zeng; and Professor Roshan Vengazhiyil won first prize in the MSOM Practice-based Research Competition for their paper “Analysis and Improvement of Blood Collection Operations.”
The paper focused on how the group’s work impacted the American Red Cross’s blood collection operations.
Ph.D. student Rui Gao won the SAS Data Mining Best Paper Award for “Wasserstein Distributional Robustness and Regularization in Statistical Learning,” co-authored by Associate Professor Anton Kleywegt and Xi Chen (NYU).
The paper establishes a close connection between distributionally robust stochastic optimization and regularization in statistical learning. Such connection suggests a systematic way to regularize high-dimensional, non-convex problems, which is demonstrated through the training of generative adversarial networks in deep learning.
Guido Lagos (Ph.D. IE 17), currently a postdoc at the Center for Mathematical Modeling of Universidad de Chile, won the Best Student Paper Award from the INFORMS Applied Probability Society. The award was for his work “On the Euler Discretization Error of Brownian Motion about Random Time.” The paper was co-authored with Lagos’ advisor, Adjunct Associate Professor Ton Dieker.
In the paper, they derive new weak limits on the error of approximating Brownian motion by its Euler discretization about times of extremes and about times of barrier-hits. They then extend these results to give the asymptotic error of approximating Gaussian random walks by Brownian motion. More importantly, though, with this collection of results they clarify the connection between several papers in the literature where a specific constant involving the Riemann zeta function has appeared. These papers cover different areas and span several decades, and the precise connection between them was an intriguing open question until now.
Assistant Professor Siva Theja Maguluri and Rayadurgam Srikant received the Best Publication in Applied Probability Award, which is awarded every two years by the INFORMS Probability Society, for “Heavy Traffic Queue Length Behavior in a Switch Under Max-Weight Algorithm.”
The paper represents a major breakthrough in resource scheduling. It positively settles the conjecture that the max-weight scheduling is delay optimal in the heavy traffic regime in which the system is fully loaded. Furthermore, Maguluri and Srikant establish how the waiting time under the maximum weight scheduling policy scales with the number of input streams when compared with any other scheduling policy in the heavy traffic regime.
Ph.D. student Ethan Mark won the INFORMS Poster Competition for “Reducing Discarded Organs and Improving Physician-patient Decision-making via Decision-support Tools and Systems Optimization,” in collaboration with Professor David Goldsman; William W. George Chair and ADVANCE Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Scholarship, College of Engineering Pinar Keskinocak; Hannah Smalley (Ph.D. IE 12); Associate Professor Joel Sokol; and Dr. Brian Gurbaxani of the CDC.
The team built an interactive program that can help a transplant recipient choose between accepting an organ that is potentially infected by a disease or waiting for a standard organ. The organs that were considered are the heart, liver, kidney, and lung. The diseases that were considered were hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, and encephalitis.
Assistant Professor Andy Sun, Alvaro Lorca (Ph.D. OR 16), Eugene Litvinov, and Tongxin Zheng won the INFORMS ENRE Best Publication in Energy Award for “Multistage Adaptive Optimization for the Unit Commitment Problem.”
The work proposes a new generation of robust optimization models and efficient algorithms for operating future large-scale power systems with significant penetration of stochastic renewable energy sources. The new models have been implemented and tested on the real system operated by the ISO New England, a leading company in the U.S. electric energy market, and have shown significant advantages in reducing generation cost and increasing reliability of the power system over current industry practice and existing approaches.
Ph.D. student Can Zhang, in collaboration with George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Turgay Ayer and Professors Atalay Atasu and Beril Toktay from Scheller College of Business, won first prize in the MSOM Society’s Best Student Paper Competition for “Mechanism Design for Medical Surplus Product Allocation.” The paper also received first prize in the INFORMS-wide Doing Good with Good OR Competition Student Paper Competition.
The MSOM student paper prize is one of the most prestigious awards a Ph.D. student can receive from INFORMS, and the competition drew 87 entrants this year. Winning the Doing Good with Good OR competition is an important indication of the quality and applicability of an academic paper on socially responsible business.
The paper studied how Medshare, a medical surplus recovery organization, matched the medical supply surplus in the U.S. with medical needs in the developing world, and developed novel and implementable solutions for Medshare’s supply and demand match problem through recipient selection.
Professor Eva Lee and an interdisciplinary team of students that includes ISyE undergraduates Ryan Eckhaus, Shefali Jain, Kevin Kwon, Joe Malecki, and Alan Thomas; ISyE master’s students Chenman Cheng and Kumbit Hwang; and Yuanbo Wong, Autumn Phillips, and Surina Puri were selected as the first runner-up for the NSF Health Organization Transformation Innovation award for “Machine Learning for Evidence-based Practice, Risk Prediction, and Optimal Care Coordination.”
Ph.D. student Xiaowei Yue received third place in the INFORMS Best Poster Presentation Award for “Ultra-high Precision Predictive Assembly of Composite Fuselage Joins via Surrogate Model Based Control.” This is a joint work with Ph.D. student Yuchen Wen and Jeffrey Hunt (Boeing).
Alvaro Lorca (Ph.D. 16), who was advised by Assistant Professor Andy Sun and is now an assistant professor in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Industrial Engineering at the Catholic University of Chile, received an honorable mention in the INFORMS George B. Dantzig Dissertation Award for his Ph.D. thesis, “Robust Optimization for Renewable Energy Integration in Electrical Power Systems.”
Weijun Xie (Ph.D. OR 17), who was advised by Anderson-Interface Chair and Professor Shabbir Ahmed and is now an assistant professor in the ISE Department at Virginia Tech, received an honorable mention in the George Nicholson Student Paper Competition for “On Deterministic Reformulations of Distributionally Robust Joint Chance Constrained Optimization Problems.”
The joint work of George Family Foundation Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Turgay Ayer; Schneider National Chair in Transportation and Logistics and Professor Chip White; Ph.D. students Can Zhang and Chenxi Zeng; and Professor Roshan Vengazhiyil, “American Red Cross: Analytics-based Methods Improve Blood Collection Operations,” was selected as a finalist for the Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences.
Ph.D. student Junzhuo Chen was a finalist for the Quality, Statistics, & Reliability Student Paper Award for “S3T: An Efficient Score Statistic for Spatio-temporal Surveillance,” in collaboration with Professor Seong-Hee Kim and Harold R. and Mary Anne Nash Early Career Professor and Assistant Professor Yao Xie.
Ph.D. student Rui Gao’s paper, “Wasserstein Distributional Robustness and Regularization in Statistical Learning,” co-authored by Associate Professor Anton Kleywegt and Xi Chen (NYU), was also a runner-up for the INFORMS Computing Society Student Paper Award.
Joshua Hale (Ph.D. IE 17), Fouts Family Early Career Professor and Associate Professor Enlu Zhou, and Jiming Peng were finalists for the Journal of Global Optimization Best Paper Award, for their work "A Lagrangian Search Method for the P-median Problem."
Fifth-year undergraduate student Chungjae Lee was a finalist for the Undergraduate Operations Research Prize for building on the work of his spring 2017 Senior Design Team, “Contact Tracing Protocol.” The team was co-advised by William W. George Chair and ADVANCE Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Scholarship, College of Engineering Pinar Keskinocak and Dr. Brian Gurbaxani from the CDC.
Professor Eva Lee and a team including Ph.D. student Xin Wei, Francine Baker (Grady), Michael D. Wright (Grady), and Alexander Quarshie (Morehouse School of Medicine) were finalists for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice for their work, "Outcome-driven Personalized Treatment Design for Managing Diabetes."
Lee and Ph.D. student Zhuonan Li, Ling Ling (MS Statistics 12), Ankit Agarwal (MSIE 2013), Michael Wright, and Alexander Quarshie were also finalists for the INFORMS Decision Analysis and Society of Decision Professionals Practice Award for “Reducing Surgical-site Infections.”
Ph.D. student Xiaowei Yue was a finalist for the SAS Data Mining Best Paper Award for “Tensor Mixed Effects Model with Applications in Nanomanufacturing Inspection,” in collaboration with Jin Gyu Park (FSU); Richard Liang (FSU); and Carolyn J. Stewart Chair and Professor Jianjun Shi.
Yue was also a finalist for the Quality, Statistics & Reliability Best Refereed Paper Award for “Effective Model Calibration via Sensible Variable Identification and Adjustment, with Application to Composite Fuselage Simulation,” in collaboration with Rui Tuo (ISyE visiting assistant professor); Jeffrey Hunt (Boeing); Carolyn J. Stewart Chair and Professor Jianjun Shi; and Yan Wang (ISyE visiting scholar).