Lawrence M. Wein

Lawrence M. Wein

Past Awards

George E. Kimball Medal: Awardee(s)
Susan Albin, INFORMS President, James C. Bean, Lawrence M. Wein, and John Birge, Kimball committee member

The 2010 George E. Kimball Medals are awarded to James C. Bean and Lawrence M. Wein.

James C. Bean received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in Operations Research. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics is from Harvey Mudd College. Bean is currently Senior Vice President and Provost of the University of Oregon as well as Harry B. Miller Professor of Business in the Lundquist College of Business. Previously he served as Dean of the Lundquist College of Business at Oregon, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the University of Michigan College of Engineering and Ford Motor Company Co-director of Michigan’s Joel D. Tauber Manufacturing Institute. He is also an Advisory Professor in Industrial Engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Professor Bean’s research is in the theory and application of infinite horizon optimization, Markov decision processes and genetic algorithms to problems in resource allocation, scheduling and production control. His most visible work has been development of the random keys encoding for applying genetic algorithms to complex sequencing problems, and foundational work on existence of forecasting horizons with Robert Smith. He was an Associate Editor of Management Science. Professor Bean has worked on various industrial projects with companies such as General Cable (production control), Penford Products (production scheduling) Homart Development (divestiture scheduling), General Motors (scheduling and equipment replacement/capacity planning), Michigan Consolidated Gas Company and IBM (equipment replacement), Bethlehem Steel (capacity planning) and Tektronix (forecasting).

Within INFORMS and its heritage organizations, Professor Bean served as Editor of the ORSA/TIMS Annual Comprehensive Index, the first electronic publication of the organizations, ORSA Council member, Chair of the Joint ORSA/TIMS Information Technology Committee and inaugural Vice President for Information Technology of INFORMS. During this period he helped design the initial version of INFORMS Online and recommended Mike Trick as its first Editor–in-Chief. He was later Secretary of INFORMS and President (2001). During his term as President, INFORMS reorganized the Board into its current format, reducing its size by nearly half, designed the Fellows Award Program, and established broad electronic access to INFORMS publications.

Early in his career Bean was selected as Outstanding Teacher in Industrial and Operations Engineering at Michigan seven times. He led a Homart Development/University of Michigan team to runner-up in the Edelman Prize competition in 1986, and was named to the Fellows Award in its inaugural year. He has been appointed by the President of MIT to two terms on the Corporation Visiting Committee for Engineering Systems, and by the Governor of Oregon to the state’s Innovation Council.

For his contributions to the field of operations research and the management sciences and his distinguished service to INFORMS and its predecessors, including bringing INFORMS into the Internet age at an early stage, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences expresses its sincere appreciation by awarding the 2010 George E. Kimball Medal to James C. Bean.

Lawrence M. Wein received his B.S. in operations research and industrial engineering from Cornell University and his Ph.D. in operations research from Stanford University. He was a professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management from 1988 to 2001, and since 2001 has been at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he is the Jeffrey S. Skoll Professor of Management Science.

Professor Wein’s early research used heavy traffic asymptotics to solve dynamic scheduling problems in queueing networks. Some of this work led a workload regulating job release policy that was widely implemented in the U.S. semiconductor industry. In the mid-1990s, Wein switched his attention to problems in health care and medicine, including managing the national waiting list for kidney transplants, analyzing and optimizing treatments for HIV, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, and selecting annual influenza vaccine strains. Some of his HIV work led to successful clinical trials for switching drug therapies.

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Professor Wein focused his research on preventing and mitigating catastrophic homeland security threats. His work in this area, via briefings in Washington D.C., Congressional testimony, papers in top scientific journals, and op-eds in major newspapers, has influenced a variety of government policies, including a post-attack mass vaccination policy for smallpox, a 2009 Presidential Directive authorizing the U.S. Postal Service to dispense antibiotics after an anthrax attack, the intensification of the heat pasteurization process for milk to preempt a botulinum toxin attack, the switch from a two-finger to a ten-finger system in the US-VISIT program, the proposed use and FDA approval of N95 respirators for pandemic influenza, and the civilian sheltering strategy in the event of a terrorist detonation of an improvised nuclear device. He was on the Homeland Security Advisory Group for Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential Election Campaign and in 2009 was on the advisory board for the Department of Homeland Security’s first quadrennial review.

Professor Wein was Editor-in-Chief of Operations Research from 2000-2005, and edited a 50th anniversary issue that includes 33 articles by some of the field’s seminal figures. He was also Chair of the Applied Probability Special Interest Group when it became an INFORMS Society.

Professor Wein is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of INFORMS and the Manufacturing and Service Operations Management Society. From INFORMS and its societies, he has received the Lanchester Prize, the Morse Lectureship, the President’s Award, the Expository Writing Award, the Koopman Prize and the Erlang Prize.

For his many contributions to the field of operations research and management science, including raising the profile of the field in the public domain, the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences expresses its sincere appreciation to Lawrence M. Wein by awarding him the 2010 George E. Kimball Medal.

Frederick W. Lanchester Prize: Winner(s)

The 2008 Lanchester Prize is awarded to Lawrence M. Wein for a series of papers, including “The Last Line of Defense: Designing Radiation Detection-Interdiction Systems to Protect Cities from a Nuclear Terrorist Attack”.

Professor Wein’s work opened up an important new area, homeland security, for the application of Operations Research. The work looks at four main areas: border security, nuclear weapons at ports and large cities, anthrax and smallpox based attacks, and food supply attacks. This research developed extremely creative, original, and detailed models for evaluating alternative methods of protection in these four areas. The analysis used an impressive range of methods including optimization, game theory, stochastic models, statistics, and differential equations. The analysis sets a high standard for future work on not only problems of security but public problems in general, and in communicating results of operations research analysis to the general public.

INFORMS President's Award: Awardee(s)

The 2007 INFORMS PRESIDENT’S AWARD is awarded to Lawrence M. Wein for his pioneering research that characterizes and improves homeland security operations, and for communicating his results to government officials and the public at large.
The terror attacks of 9/11/2001 followed by the deliberate mailborne dissemination of anthrax forced the United States to focus upon homeland security as never before, yet how to best protect our population and our infrastructure from terrorist threats presents a family of difficult decisions for which there are no easy answers. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Stanford's Larry Wein, however, we can all rest just a bit easier. For the past six years, Larry has completed a remarkable series of research projects that have quantified various homeland security threats such as smallpox, anthrax and botulinum toxin attacks; (lack of) container security and the potential import of nuclear devices; and the likelihood of terrorist infiltration across our nation's borders. These papers have been published in leading scientific journals, notably a series of articles in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences of the United States of America. Larry and his colleagues have examined the operations of extant or proposed operations for dealing with each of these threats (e.g. vaccination or antibiotic distribution policies for smallpox or anthrax attacks; fingerprint identification protocols governing the US VISIT program as implemented at airports across the country; radiation screening procedures as implemented at major shipping ports) using newly developed and highly original operations research models. Via these model-based analyses, Larry has been able to identify the key problems with current or proposed policies, but even more importantly has shown how to fix them. To ensure that those with decision-making authority understand the homeland security issues addressed, Larry has provided both federal and state testimony regarding his most important findings in addition to briefing responsible decision-makers in numerous government agencies. Finally, to educate the public, Larry has crafted a series of Op Ed articles with titles like "Unready for Anthrax," "Got Toxic Milk?" and "Think Inside The Box" in leading national papers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal to accompany his scientific publications. This is in addition to his numerous TV and radio appearances discussing various aspects of his homeland security research.
The President's Award is made for contributions to the welfare of society. Larry Wein's work on homeland security is perhaps the ultimate contribution to the welfare of society, as his work is helping to ensure the safety of us all. I am therefore pleased to present the 2007 INFORMS President's Award to Lawrence M. Wein, the Paul E. Holden Professor of Management Science at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award: Winner(s)

Saul Gass Expository Writing Award: Winner(s)

The 2005 INFORMS Expository Writing Award is presented to Lawrence M. Wein for his papers on queuing, medical therapy and public health policy.

Lawrence Wein made his name in heavy-traffic analysis of queuing models, a technical area, which is often more excessively formal than readily approachable. Wein, however, developed an expositional style that made his work accessible to a broader audience and created a model that many researchers have since followed. His paper with D.M. Markowitz, "Heavy Traffic Analysis of Dynamic Cyclic Policies: A Unified Treatment of the Single Machine Scheduling Problem," Operations Research 49 (2001) 246-270, is a perfect example of this approach.

Wein's more recent work on medical treatment and public health has exhibited a similar high level of expositional clarity and perhaps been more influential, reaching beyond just an Operations Research audience. An excellent example is "Sequencing Surgery, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy: Insights From a Mathematical Analysis," Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 74 (2002) 279-286 (joint with D. R. Beil), which considers the choice of treatment protocols from the control-theoretic point of view. The authors provide insights for bio-medical professionals without overwhelming readers with technicalities. His work on public health has had an even greater impact. His paper on smallpox vaccination in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99 (2002) 10935-10940 (with E. H. Kaplan and David L. Craft), uses Operations Research techniques to develop a disease transmission model and to evaluate response policies. This paper along with his other publications on public health consistently rank at the top of the most read publications in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Committee members, namely Sigrún Andradóttir, Martin Lariviere, and Andrzej Ruszczyñski, are proud to designate Lawrence M. Wein as the recipient of the 2005 INFORMS Expository Writing Award.

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

MSOM Fellows Program: Awardee(s)

Koopman Prize: Awardee(s)
Winning material: Emergency Response to a Smallpox Attack: The Case for Mass Vaccination

Erlang Prize: Winner(s)

George Nicholson Student Paper Competition: Second Place
Winning material: "Optimal Control of a Two Station Brownian Network"