Sheldon H. Jacobson

Founder Professor of Engineering and Computer Science,
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Affiliated Units: ISE, ECE, Math, Statistics, College of Medicine

Biographical Profile


  • B.Sc., M.Sc. Mathematics, McGill University  
  • Ph.D., Operations Research, Cornell University

Professional Experience

  • 1999-present: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 
  • 2012-2014: National Science Foundation, Program Director 
  • 1993-1999: Virginia Tech 
  • 1988-1993: Case Western Reserve University  

Selected INFORMS Activities

  • INFORMS Treasurer (2015-2016) 
  • INFORMS Speaker’s Program (1997-Present)  
  • INFORMS NSF Liaison Committee (Chair) (2012-2014, 2019-2020)  
  • INFORMS Government & Analytics Summit (Panelist, 2019) 
  • General Chair, 2022 INFORMS Annual Meeting, Indianapolis  
  • Associate Editor, Operations Research (2004-2007) 

Selected Professional Honors and Awards

  • Fellow, INFORMS, 2013  
  • Fellow, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, 2011  
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2020  
  • INFORMS George E. Kimball Medal, 2020  
  • INFORMS Saul Gass Expository Writing Award, 2020  
  • INFORMS Impact Prize, 2018 
  • Omega Rho Plenary Speaker, 2020 INFORMS Annual Meeting 
  • IISE David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award, 2017  
  • IISE Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering, 2010, 2013 
  • Best Paper Award, IISE Transactions Focused Issue (Operations Engineering), 2003  
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, 2003  
  • Runner-up, Christopher Columbus Foundation Homeland Security Award (Transportation & Border Security), 2010  
  • Service Science Best Paper Award, INFORMS Annual Meeting, 2019

Selected National Service Activities

  • Organizer, NSF-Sponsored workshop (2016), Setting a Broader Impacts Innovation Roadmap  
  • Briefing (2001), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice  
  • Briefing (2002), Office of Science and Technology Policy (in Executive Office of Pres. G.W. Bush)   
  • Committees Member, National Research Council Committee on Airport Passenger Screening: Backscatter X-Ray Machines (2013-2015)  
  • Committee Member, National Academy of Medicine Standing Committee for the CDC Division of Strategic National Stockpile (2015-2017) 


Author/co-author of 199 refereed journal articles (including Operations Research, INFORMS Journal on Computing, Transportation Science, Mathematical Programming, IISE Transactions), 12 book chapters, 240 professional/editorial publications (including 21 OR/MS Today articles), and 50 conference proceedings. 

More information can be found at

Vision Statement

Operations research, management science, and analytics (ORMS&A) are flourishing across academia, government, and industry. What began with novel models and innovative algorithms more than 80 years ago has blossomed into an ever-expanding footprint of influence across numerous fields, including healthcare, transportation, services, business/finance, manufacturing, and many more. The INFORMS community, my professional home for over 30 years, sits at the fulcrum of this revolution, making a difference by “Saving lives. Saving money. Solving problems.”

Rather than asking what is INFORMS, the more salient question is, who is INFORMS? INFORMS is you, members who create, apply, and communicate our methods and innovations. INFORMS is all about its people. A review of all the activities within INFORMS reveals your remarkable contributions, your breadth, and your diversity. You “make it happen.” The INFORMS president can inspire and provide a vision to move us forward together to even greater levels of excellence. It would be a privilege to serve you in this role.     

The principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are key ingredients for a strong, vibrant organization. INFORMS welcomes diversity, building toward an inclusive, equitable future that serves the needs of its members and society. During my career, one-third of my graduated Ph.D. students have come from underrepresented groups. My commitment to DEI principles is steadfast.      

Service for the greater good is foundational to my personal and professional values. In the spirit of service and contributing to society, and widely sharing the good work of INFORMS members, much media outreach and advocacy already take place. My vision is to further energize such activities. This can be done by increasing outreach and advocacy training opportunities at the INFORMS Annual Meeting and Analytics Conference. In addition, encouraging more position papers that place INFORMS and its members at the “head of the table” for important societal issues is critical for moving INFORMS forward into the national spotlight. All such efforts will broaden INFORMS’ public presence and highlight your important contributions and our collective societal impacts.      

Developing future leaders is critically important for INFORMS. As your president, I would initiate and grow a leadership training pipeline that will serve INFORMS for many years to come. Launching activities amongst a larger swath of INFORMS members to support an INFORMS Future Leaders program would better position INFORMS and further expand INFORMS’ excellent work and influence. Such an effort is vital for our future.     

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many of us to reflect on how our lives may be changed for the better. Similarly, you may ask, “How INFORMS can improve and better serve you, its membership?” Here is one example. Under my leadership as the General Chair of the 2022 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Indianapolis, the planning committee acted to eliminate Wednesday technical sessions, based on longstanding member feedback. As your president, a review of INFORMS Policies and Procedures (P&P) will be initiated to identify outdated processes that no longer serve your interests. This would strengthen INFORMS and help us move forward more effectively and cohesively.

My vision for INFORMS is for it to grow its tradition of excellence and serve as the professional home of choice for the ORMS&A community. Embracing DEI principles, inspiring a spirit of service, communication, and advocacy, creating a platform for enhancing leadership development, and initiating a review of INFORMS P&P can lead to an INFORMS future that will best serve you, its members, and society.    

The future for INFORMS is bright. As president, I hope to make it even brighter. If your vision for INFORMS aligns with mine, your support is welcomed and appreciated. Thank for you being an INFORMS member.