INFORMS Awards 2013 UPS George D. Smith to the Naval Postgraduate School


Ashley Smith
Public Affairs Coordinator

Click here for video of the winner announcement >>

HANOVER, MD, April 25, 2013 – The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) has awarded its prestigious UPS George D. Smith Prize to the Naval Post Graduate School. The prize was announced at a banquet on Monday, April 8 in San Antonio, Texas at the 2013 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize is awarded to an academic department or program for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research. It is accompanied by a $10,000 cash award.  For the purpose of this award, operations research is defined broadly to include operations research, management science, and analytics.

INFORMS, the INFORMS College for the Practice of Management Science (CPMS), and UPS collaborated to establish this award to emphasize the importance of operations research practice and to encourage operations research/analytics programs around the world to focus on preparing students for operations research practice.  In the two years since its inception, the prize has gained international stature, and has been attracting applications from highly recognized academic programs in U.S. and abroad.

Delivering the selection committee’s decision, Dr. Donald Smith of Monmouth University who chaired the committee, stated, “The Naval Postgraduate School trains its students in making important line and policy research that is meant to ensure military preparedness, proper military planning, strong execution during wartime, and overall enlightened policy planning. Its graduates help making important decisions at multitude of levels. The program is unique in its strong and inexorable link to its sponsor, the U.S. Department of Defense, which keeps NPS students and faculty focused on applying methods to solve problems facing the military and other diverse branches of government, with a focus improving operational efficiency and effectiveness. By awarding the 2013 UPS George D. Smith Prize, the committee recognizes the outstanding contribution made by the Naval Post Graduate School, and its graduates, by the practice of operations research.”

The other finalists for 2013 were:

  • The Lehigh University Enterprise System Center and Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Leaders for Global Operations Program

Accepting the award on behalf of NPS, Dr. Robert Dell, the chairman of the school’s Operations Research Department, said, “It’s an honor to be recognized as an exceptional program. Certainly what we strive to do is produce exceptional practitioners of operations research who graduate from our program and go on to make a difference in their militaries, both in the U.S. as well as around the world. The idea behind the prize is to ensure that the best practices for universities are acknowledged and an opportunity to share best practices provided so other programs can learn and improve.”

The Naval Postgraduate School began offering its degree program in Operations Research in 1951, making it the first O.R. degree program in the country.  Approximately 55 students per year graduate from the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) with a Master of Science in Operations Research degree.  Its students are practitioners upon entry to the program, and on exit. They come to NPS in midcareer in the military, and leave it with a position in the military. They are full time employees of the military even as they undertake the NPS OR program. Thus, the practical usefulness of the material is paramount.

Students are required to conduct a three-week ‘experience tour’ in which they immerse themselves in the field to gain first-hand experience with the application of their research topic. The department celebrates student O.R. practice with a competition within each graduation class for the MORS/Tisdale award that is won by the student whose thesis demonstrates the greatest impact of operations research on the Department of Defense.

The NPS faculty frequently publishes on its teaching philosophy in the INFORMS magazine OR/MS Today and other outlets, and is regularly among the top schools in practical research according to the association’s Rothkopf Rankings. They have received multiple Teaching of OR/MS Practice awards from INFORMS, among other awards.

The NPS program treats real world practice as laudable and necessary products of O.R. As such, NPS seeks to influence policy. NPS acts as a trusted source of policy advice for our government, and has been credited with advising and shaping defense investments of over a trillion dollars.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize is named in honor of the late UPS Chief Executive Officer who was a patron of operations researchers at this leading Fortune 500 corporation. George D. Smith was the second CEO of UPS, holding the position from 1962-1972. He joined UPS as an accountant in 1925 and at some point in his long and illustrious career held almost every functional title within the company. He believed operations research practice was vital to the sustained growth of the company and championed its practice. UPS is generously underwriting the expenses for this prize to recognize the contribution of operations research discipline in transforming a small messenger company to a global logistics company.

More information about the prize is here.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is the leading professional association for professionals in advanced analytics. INFORMS is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators, and managers, as well as their institutions, by publishing a variety of journals that describe the latest research in operations research. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at