INFORMS News: Robinson, Dietrich receive Kimball Medals

INFORMS President Rina Schneur (far left) and Committee Chair John Birge (far right) congratulate Kimball Medal winners Brenda Dietrich and Stephen Robinson.

INFORMS President Rina Schneur (far left) and Committee Chair John Birge (far right) congratulate Kimball Medal winners Brenda Dietrich and Stephen Robinson.

Stephen M. Robinson, professor emeritus, Industrial and Systems Engineering and of Computer Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Brenda L. Dietrich, vice president, Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences, IBM Research Division, received the 2011 George E. Kimball Medal for distinguished service to INFORMS and the O.R. profession. Committee chair John Birge presented the medals at the 2011 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

Following are excerpts from the citations:

Stephen M. Robinson

[Robinson’s] research specialty is in variational analysis and mathematical programming, and he is the author, co-author or editor of seven books and more than 100 scientific research papers. His outstanding research accomplishments have been recognized by the award of an honorary doctor’s degree from the University of Zürich, Switzerland, the George B. Dantzig Prize of the Mathematical Programming Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the John K. Walker Jr. Award of the Military Operations Research Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a National Associate of the National Research Council and a Fellow of INFORMS and of SIAM.

In addition to research, Robinson has been heavily involved in professional and public service. He was a member of TIMS and ORSA from 1972 until the merger [in 1995] and has been a member of INFORMS since then. He served two terms as treasurer of INFORMS from 2007 to 2010 and two terms as secretary of INFORMS from 2000 to 2003, as well as serving on the ORSA Council from 1991 to 1994. Previously he had extensive publications experience as associate editor of Operations Research from 1974 to 1986, editor of Mathematics of Operations Research from 1981 to 1986 and a member of the Combined Publications Committee (a joint activity of TIMS and ORSA) from 1986 to 1993. From 1991 to 1993 he was chair of that committee, a position that was the functional equivalent of the present INFORMS vice president-Publications. He has also served on many other INFORMS committees, including the INFORMS Executive Director Search Committee in 2010-2011.

[Robinson] has been a member of numerous governmental and professional advisory committees, including extensive service for the National Academies. He is a former elected trustee of the Village of Shorewood Hills, Wis., and from 1991 to 2002 he served on the board of overseers of Simon’s Rock College, Great Barrington, Mass.

He served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1993, retiring as a colonel after a combination of regular and reserve service.

Brenda L. Dietrich

[Dietrich] joined the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center as a research staff member in 1984 prior to completing her graduate studies. During her 27 years at IBM she has held various technical and management positions. She was appointed IBM Fellow in 2007 for her technical and leadership contributions.

Dietrich’s individual research has been in the areas of combinatorial duality and in the application of linear and integer programming in industrial and business decision-making. Her more theoretical work included a circuit set characterization for antimatroids and an extension of Hoffman’s theorem regarding Monge sequences for transportations problems to encompass incomplete bipartite graphs. Her most significant applied work, in the area of resource constrained production planning, addressed numerous inventory and capacity allocation decisions within IBM.

In her position at IBM Dietrich has influenced and contributed to the use of operations research-based methods throughout [the company]. Through her interaction with IBM’s consulting organizations and product groups, she has also influenced the use of operations research-based products and offerings made available to enterprises and government organizations. IBM teams under her direction or influence have received the Edelman Award and won multiple Wagner Prizes. Additionally, her team’s work resulted in IBM’s receiving the INFORMS Prize in 1999.

Dietrich has served on numerous INFORMS committees, on the INFORMS Board as vice president for Practice activities and president of INFORMS in 2007. She was a founding member of the Forum for Women in Operations Research and Management Science and was influential in the establishment of the Services Sciences Section of INFORMS. She has also served on INFORMS journal editorial boards and on conference program committees, most notably chairing the advisory committee for the first two INFORMS Practice Conferences.

During her tenure on the INFORMS Board, Dietrich continued to drive the evolution and expansion of the INFORMS Practice Conference. She also established a strategic planning process by which INFORMS plans and manages its portfolio of member services.