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John Brige Receives 2008 Harold W. Kuhn Award for Operations Management


John Birge, the Jerry W. and Carol Lee Levin Professor of Operations Management at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, has received the 2008 Harold W. Kuhn Award for his research in operations management that integrates financing and operations decisions faced by a firm.

The award is presented annually in recognition of an exceptional paper published in Naval Research Logistics, a peer-reviewed journal in operations research, applied statistics, and general quantitative modeling, with special interest in applications covering the full spectrum of logistics problems.

Birge was honored for his research “Equity Valuation, Production, and Financial Planning: A Stochastic Programming Approach,” published in 2006.

The research was co-authored with Xiaodong Xu, formerly with Northwestern University’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, and now with Deutsche Asset Management in New York.

The research “addresses an issue that has the potential to impact high-level corporate planning at many firms,” according to the award citation.

“The paper takes a groundbreaking approach to the integration of operations and financial decisions faced by a firm,” the citation said. “It presents an extension of a traditional multi-period production planning model, where in each period financing and default decisions have to be made in addition to the usual inventory ordering decision, and where uncertainty is explicitly incorporated in the form of a set of possible future cenarios. The objective is to maximize the expected discounted net cash flow to investors in each period.”

The award will be presented at the annual meeting of Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), in Washington, DC, October 12-15, 2008.

Birge has written two books, Introduction to Stochastic Programming (with F.V. Louveaux) and Mathematical Programming: State of the Art 1994 (with K.G. Muty). In addition, he has written more than 70 research papers.

Birge is the recipient of the Best Paper Award from the Japan Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences Fellows Award, and the Institute of Industrial Engineers Medallion Award.

He has worked as a consultant for a variety of firms including the University of Michigan Hospitals, Deutsche Bank, Allstate Insurance Company, and Morgan Stanley, and he uses cases from those experiences in his teaching.

At Chicago GSB he teaches courses in decision models to MBA students and convex optimization to PhD students. He also leads a workshop in operations and management science.

Before joining the Chicago GSB faculty in 2004, he served as Dean of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University. Earlier he taught at the Northwestern and at the University of Michigan.

Birge received a PhD and MS in operations research from Stanford University and an AB in mathematics from Princeton.

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