Published: November 7, 2018
This is the second of two special podcasts produced this month, both recorded during the INFORMS 2018 Annual Meeting. We spoke to a number of INFORMS member who presented during the meeting on topics that highlight the ways O.R. and analytics are being used to save lives, save money and solve problems. In this episode, we discuss how O.R. and analytics are providing valuable insight into some of the most complex problems facing our world today, from improving aviation security pre-check procedures with Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois, protecting the security of elections in the U.S. with Natalie Scala of Towson University, and increasing the success rates of kidney transplants in underserved populations with Sommer Gentry of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Interviewed this episode:
Sheldon Jacobson, Natalie Scala, Sommer Gentry
University of Illinois, Towson University, U.S. Naval Academy
Sheldon Jacobson received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in mathematics from McGill University (in 1981 and 1983, respectively), and both a M.S. and a Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University (in 1986 and 1988, respectively). Subsequently, he joined the faculty of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in 1988, and then the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech in 1993. In 1999, he joined the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, moving to the Department of Computer Science in 2006. From 2012 to 2014, he served as the Program Director for Operations Research at the National Science Foundation. He has served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Airport Passenger Screening: Backscatter X-Ray Machines (2013-2015) and the National Academy of Medicine’s Standing Committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Strategic National Stockpile (2015-2017).
Dr. Natalie Scala’s areas of expertise include decision modeling, energy utilities, elections security, military applications, spare parts management and cybersecurity. She has published numerous papers in leading journals and actively consults industry clients
Sommer Gentry is an American mathematician who works as a professor of mathematics at the United States Naval Academy and as a research associate in surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Her research concerns operations research and its applications to the optimization of organ transplants, and has led to the discovery of geographic inequities in organ allocation. She is also interested in dancing, teaches swing dancing at the Naval Academy, and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the mathematics and robotics of dance.