Mark Lewis headshot

Mark E. Lewis

Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Engineering, Cornell University

Biographical Profile


  • Ph.D., ISyE, Georgia Tech, 1998
  • M.S., Statistics, FSU, 1995
  • B.S., Mathematics, Eckerd College, 1992

Professional Experience

  • Director, School of ORIE, 2019-present
  • (Senior) Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development, (2017-2020), (2015-2017)
  • Professor, 2011-present
  • Associate Professor, 2005-2011
  • Assistant Professor, IOE, University of Michigan, 1999-2005

INFORMS and Related Activities (member since 1999)

  • Morse Lecture Committee (2016-2019)
  • Ad Hoc Scholarship Committee (2015-2016)
  • Chair, Applied Probability Society (2012-2014)
  • Meetings Committee (2009-2012)
  • Co-organizer, INFORMS APS Conference (2009)
  • Co-founder and president, Minority Issues Forum (2001-2003, 2009-2011)
  • Chair, Provost’s Committee on Faculty Diversity (2017-2018)
  • Sloan Foundation (PI) University Center for Exemplary Mentoring

Selected Awards

  • Mathematically Gifted & Black 2019 Black History Month Honoree
  • Zellman Warhaft Commitment to Diversity Faculty Award, 2012
  • NAE, Frontiers on Engineering, Participant, 2007
  • Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, NSF, 2002

Publication Summary

My research interests span the theory and application of Markov decision processes to the dynamic control of (mainly) queueing systems.

Vision Statement

First, I would like to say that I have benefited in my career from a wide range of interactions through INFORMS. This is an opportunity to give back that I sincerely hope I am afforded. The position of secretary provides an opportunity to affect both policy and people. I believe this closely aligns with my interests and skillset, and where I have dedicated virtually all of my service in the past 10 years.

While I think INFORMS provides an outstanding meeting and dissemination platform, I believe there is space for it to grow even further. It is one of the few (maybe the only) societies that has successfully integrated the fields of mathematical modeling and optimization with business and industry. As the walls between areas of research continue to blur, so should the walls between societies. One of the things I would like to encourage through this position is to allow meetings to have further cross-pollination of research from various areas. For example, given the large swath of people interested in healthcare within the Applied Probability Society, having the two groups coordinate to encourage interactions just seems natural. In a similar manner, it is my view that INFORMS has not maximized the potential of its gender and ethnic diversity. If elected, I will pay particular attention to ways in which INFORMS can improve along these vectors.

I served on the Meetings Committee (2009-2012) along with multiple stints on paper committees for the Junior Faculty Interest Group, Minority Issues Forum and the Nicholson competition. In addition, I chaired the Applied Probability Society (APS) from 2012-2014 and co-chaired the APS meeting in 2009. These each have given me a window into how INFORMS works. However, the experiences that most prepared me for this role are five years (2015-2020) as the (Senior) Associate Dean for Diversity and Faculty Development in the College of Engineering at Cornell University, co-founder and past president (twice) of the Minority Issues Forum, and my current role as the director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering at Cornell. In each of these roles, I have had the opportunity to interact with both students and faculty to move forward a strategic agenda. As associate dean and director, I worked closely with the Development Office to raise funds in support of department- and college-wide efforts. Lastly, as associate dean, faculty development (including promotion and tenure) and diversity were a large part of my portfolio. These are areas INFORMS could continue to foster and I would be excited to help the Board move forward.

Diversity and a commitment to it is at the core of who I am. I have already mentioned being one of the founding members of the Minority Issues Forum (MIF), its first president, and a second stint as the president of the MIF. I spent five years (until January 2020) as associate dean for Diversity and Faculty Development. As a part of this appointment, I co-lead Cornell’s award-winning Diversity Programs in Engineering where there is programming to help students (both undergraduate and graduate) and faculty from underrepresented groups navigate the academic landscape. Also, as a part of that appointment, I chaired the College’s Strategic Oversight Committee that ensures all engineering faculty searches follow best practices. This is all to say that I believe that my past experience prepares me well for a leadership role at INFORMS.