Michael Fu, professor of management science, and Lawrence Bodin, professor emeritus of management science, have been named as Fellows for 2008 by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). This singular honor, awarded to about two percent of the organization’s 11,000 members, has now been held by six members of the Smith School’s decision and information technologies department. In addition to Fu and Bodin, Saul Gass, professor emeritus of management science, Michael Ball, Orkand Professor of Management Science, Bruce Golden, France-Merrick Chair in Management Science, and Dean Howard Frank are past INFORMS fellows.
INFORMS Fellows are recognized for their significant contributions to the advancement of the field of operations research, which uses data and mathematical techniques to solve specific business problems. Gass, a pioneer in the field, helped develop the technique of linear programming, a simple but powerful tool that allowed researchers to create computer programs to model a large range of tremendously complex business problems.
Gass influenced succeeding generations of researchers at the Smith School, including Lawrence Bodin, Michael Fu, Bruce Golden, and Michael Ball.
Bodin consulted with major delivery companies to develop models and algorithms to find the solution of routing problems over geographic data bases, particularly the problems that are encountered when the solution has to be embedded on top of a street network. The systems he helped develop are being used by some of the major delivery companies, newspaper delivery companies, public utilities and sanitation companies. “I am very pleased to have been named an INFORMS Fellow,” says Bodin. “There are only about 200 of INFORMS' 11,000 members who have been named INFORMS Fellows. I feel it is a wonderful honor to be given this recognition for my accomplishments.”
Fu, who was recently named a University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher and holds a joint appointment with the Institute for Systems Research and an affiliate appointment with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, both in the Clark School of Engineering, works on simulation modeling and analysis, production/inventory control, applied probability and queueing theory, with application to manufacturing and finance. He is currently working with the FDIC to evaluate each of its 6,000 member banks in order to determine the level of premium to charge for FDIC insurance. “I feel extremely honored and grateful to be one of the 30 INFORMS Fellows selected worldwide this year,” says Fu.
Ball, who also holds a joint appointment within the Institute for Systems Research (ISR) in the Clark School of Engineering, works in the area of network optimization and integer programming, particularly as applied to problems in transportation systems and supply chain management. His research has had a significant influence on both the policy and practice of the Federal Aviation Administration, where his models for optimizing takeoffs and landings at airports found an enthusiastic welcome.
Golden’s research interests include heuristic search, combinatorial optimization, networks, and applied operations research. He recently worked with the University of Maryland Hospital’s cardiac surgery department to optimize the number of beds in the intensive care unit, where there is one nurse per bed, and the remote telemetry unit, where less staff is required. The model was able to save the hospital millions of dollars, and get people into needed surgery more quickly.
Howard Frank, who is also a member of the National Academy of Engineering, earned his INFORMS Fellow award by virtue of research begun during his early academic career at the University of California at Berkeley and further explored during his subsequent career in both the private and public sectors. His research examined the theory of large scale network analysis and design and the development of packet-switching, one of the key innovations that made the modern Internet possible.
Taken together, the research represented by the Smith School’s INFORMS Fellows show the strength of Smith’s DIT faculty and the relevance of our research across many industries. And it also demonstrates why the Smith School has achieved international recognition as a research powerhouse and an influential center of ideas and innovation.
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