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Three Booth Faculty Members Honored For Operations Research

October 29, 2012

Three Chicago Booth faculty members, a Ph.D. student and an M.B.A. graduate each received awards for their research and impact in the field of operations research from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (INFORMS) at the group's annual meeting Oct. 14-17 in Phoenix. 

The awards were given to John Birge, Jerry W. and Carol Lee Levin Professor of Operations Management; Donald Eisenstein, professor of operations management; Linus Schrage, professor emeritus; Vishal Ahuja, a current Ph.D. student studying management science and operations management; and Kevin Cunningham, a 1984 graduate of Booth's M.B.A. program. 

The Health Applications Section of INFORMS selected Birge and Ahuja as winners of the Pierskalla Award for the best research paper in health care management science. The winning paper, titled "Fully Adaptive Design for Clinical Trials: Simultaneous Learning from Multiple Patients," was presented at the meeting in Phoenix. 

In the paper, Birge and Ahuja propose a new protocol for clinical trials in which treatment assignments can change over time. They found that this design can improve patient outcomes significantly over standard approaches. 

Eisenstein won the 2012 Best Paper award from the Transportation Services and Logistics Society of INFORMS for his research, "A Self-Coordinating Bus Route to Resist Bus Bunching." The paper was published in the journal Transportation Research B 46 (2012). Eisenstein shares the award with co-author John Bartholdi III from the Georgia Institute of Technology Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering. 

The Transportation Services and Logistics Best Paper Award is given in recognition of innovative approaches for solving complex problems in transportation and/or logistics, with an emphasis on operations research and quantitative methods. 

In their research, Eisenstein and Bartholdi found that the natural tendency of buses to bunch can be reduced by abandoning the idea of a schedule. Their new method of coordinating buses allows the natural time between buses to emerge spontaneously. The buses become self-correcting so that after disturbances they re-equalize without intervention by management or even awareness by the drivers. 

Emeritus Professor Schrage and Cunningham were two of eight scholars who shared this year's INFORMS Impact Prize. Schrage and Cunningham were honored for their development of LINDO/LINGO, one of the "most important algebraic modeling languages used for optimization," INFORMS said. The software Schrage, Cunningham and the others developed has been incorporated into general-purpose systems of large technical software companies, spreadsheet programs, mathematical modeling systems and object-oriented programming languages. 

INFORMS is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research. 

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