Vice President - Education

Illya V. Hicks

Professor and Chair of Computational Applied Mathematics & Operations Research,
Rice University

Biographical Profile


  • M.A. and Ph.D. in Computational and Applied Mathematics, Rice University, 2000
  • B.S. in Mathematics, Texas State University, 1995

Professional Experience

  • Rice University, Chair of Computational Applied Mathematics & Operations Research (formerly Computational and Applied Mathematics) Department (2021-present)
  • Rice University, Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics (2014-present)
  • Rice University, Faculty Advisor to the President (2016-2019)
  • Rice University, Associate Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics (2007-2014)
  • Texas A&M University, Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering (2006)
  • Texas A&M University, Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering (2000- 2006)

INFORMS and Related Activities

  • INFORMS Fellows
    • INFORMS Fellows Selection Committee, 2022-2024
  • INFORMS Minority Issues Forum
    • Inaugural vice president, 2000-2002
    • President, 2002-2004 
    • Executive board member, 2000-present
  • IFORS 2020
    • Area co-chair for graphs, networks, and combinatorial optimization
  • INFORMS Annual Meeting Committee
    • Special Events and Spouse’s Chair, 2005
    • Sponsored Sessions Co-chair, 2017
  • Nicholson Prize Committee
    • Member, 2014
    • Co-chair, 2015
  • INFORMS Computing Society
    • Board of directors, member, 2018-2020
  • INFORMS Optimization Society
    • Optimization Prize for Young Researchers committee, 2021
    • Student paper prize committee, 2018
    • General Chair, INFORMS Optimization Society Conference, 2014
  • INFORMS Chapters/Fora Committee
    • Forum representative 2008-2011
  • INFORMS Subdivision Council
    • Forum representative, 2008-2012 and 2015-2017
  • Co-organizer, Academic Workshop for Underrepresented Junior Faculty and Senior Graduate Students (2007-present)

Professional Honors and Awards

  • INFORMS Fellow, 2020 Class
  • INFORMS Minority Issue Forum Fellow, 2021 (inaugural class)
  • 2010 Forum Moving Spirit Award, INFORMS
  • 2005 Optimization Prize for Young Researchers, Optimization Society, INFORMS


I have given numerous keynotes and invited lectures at conferences and universities and have several articles in leading publications.

Vision Statement

First, let me state that I am honored to be nominated for the position of INFORMS Vice President of Education. The late U.S. president John Adams once said that “before any great things are accomplished, a memorable change must be made in the system of education … to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher.” I am a firm believer in this tenet. Education is the best way to improve society. Given the current state of interest in analytics, optimization, statistics, machine learning/AI, and data science, INFORMS should be at the forefront of educational goals to increase exposure to these skills and techniques within the K-12 community beyond. This area is also ideal to attract K-12 students who have been historically underrepresented in STEM areas because of the draw to improve society. I will also be focused on how to get more undergraduate students engaged in O.R. research early and in preparation for graduate school. In terms of graduate students, junior faculty, and mid-career faculty, I want to increase their access to professional development. I lead several professional development efforts and I would like to expand those to the INFORMS community. These are all initiatives that INFORMS should be focused on. Hence, if elected, I will lead INFORMS with a passion for engaging more with the K-12 community as well as increasing professional development within INFORMS while also strengthening our partnerships with academia and industry; both are vital stakeholders that depend on the education of the next generation of O.R. researchers.