Frederick W. Lanchester Prize


The series of papers address a fundamental challenge in optimization under uncertainty: that the distribution of the uncertain problem parameters, which is needed to compute the expected value of the objective function, is unknown. In practice, one has access to a set of training samples from this distribution. In this case, a natural goal is to find a procedure that transforms the training data to a hopefully near-optimal decision and a prediction of its expected cost. The papers construct a data-driven approach to decisions by solving a distributionally robust optimization problem over a Wasserstein ball. These contributions are not only foundational but they have also paved the way for a new perspective on popular methods in statistics and machine learning, and as well as applications.

Purpose of the Award

2021 Committee Chair

Baris Ata
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business


Click here for committee information.

The Lanchester prize is awarded for the best contribution to operations research and the management sciences published in English in the past five years. The prize includes a commemorative medallion and a U.S. $5,000 cash award. The award is given each year at the fall INFORMS Annual Meeting.

Application Process

To be eligible for the Lanchester Prize, a paper, a book, or a group of books or papers must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be on an operations research/management science subject.
  • It must have been published in one of the preceding five years or, in the case of a group, at least one member of the group must have been published in one of those years.
  • It must be written in the English language, and
  • It must have appeared in the open literature.

The submission deadline will be June 15, 2021. The award will be presented at the 2021 Annual INFORMS Meeting.

Click here for instructions.

About the Award/Namesake

Frederick Lanchester

Frederick Lanchester, 1868-1946

In 1896 Lanchester and his brother built the first petrol car in England. Lanchester redesigned and re-built the engine the next year into a two cylinder horizontally opposed version using his new wick carburetor design to improve both performance and speed. His true interest remained mechanical flight, which he had been studying since the early 1890s. He developed a model for the vortices that occur behind wings during flight, which included the first full description of lift and drag.During World War I he was particularly interested in predicting the outcome of aerial battles. In 1916 he published Aviation in Warfare: The Dawn of the Fourth Arm, which included a description of a series of differential equations that are today known as Lanchester's Power Laws...

Learn more about Frederick Lanchester

Past Awardees

Tim Roughgarden, Columbia University
2018 Winner(s)
2017 Winner(s)
Award not given
2016 Winner(s)
Award not given
2015 Winner(s)
Michele Conforti, Università di Padova, Dipartimento di Matematica Gerard P. Cornuejols, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business Giacomo Zambelli, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Mathematics
2014 Winner(s)
Award not given
2013 Winner(s)
David P Williamson, Cornell University David B Shmoys, Cornell University
2012 Winner(s)
Award Not Given This Year
2011 Winner(s)
David Easley, Cornell University, Department of Economics Jon M. Kleinberg, Cornell University, Department of Computer Science
2009 Winner(s)
Award Not Given This Year
2008 Winner(s)
Warren P. Adams, Clemson University, Dept. of Mathematical Sciences Hanif D. Sherali, Virginia Tech
Lawrence M. Wein, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business
2007 Winner(s)
David L. Applegate, AT&T Labs - Research, Algorithms & Optimization Dept. Robert E. Bixby, Gurobi Optimization, Inc. Vašek Chvátal, Concordia University, Dept. of Computer Science & Software Engineering William J. Cook, Georgia Institute of Technology, Industrial & Systems Engineering
2006 Winner(s)
Paul Glasserman, Columbia University
2005 Winner(s)
Kalyan T. Talluri, Imperial College Business School Garrett J. van Ryzin, Cornell Tech
2004 Winner(s)
Alexander Schrijver, CWI, National Research Institute for Mathematics & Computer Science
2003 Winner(s)
Nicholas Vieille, HEC Paris, Dept. Finance & Economics
Ward Whitt, Columbia University, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Dept.
2001 Winner(s)
J. Michael Harrison, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business
2000 Winner(s)
Olvi Mangasarian, University of Wisconsin, Computer Sciences Department
1997 Winner(s)
R. Tyrrell Rockafellar, University of Washington, Dept. of Mathematics Roger J-B Wets, University of California - Davis
1997 Honorable Mention
Joseph Abate Gagan L. Choudhury, AT&T Laboratories Kin K. Leung, Imperial College, Electrical & Electronic Engineering & Computing Dept.
David M. Lucantoni, DLT Consulting LLC Ward Whitt, Columbia University, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Dept.
1996 Winner(s)
George Fishman, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
1995 Winner(s)
Robert J. Aumann, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Center for Rationality Michael B. Maschler, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Einstein Institute of Mathematics
Martin L. Puterman, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Communications & Business Administration
1994 Winner(s)
Edward H. Kaplan, Yale University
Richard Cottle, Stanford University, Management Science & Engineering Jong-Shi Pang, University of Southern California Richard Stone , Northwest Airlines
1993 Winner(s)
Thomas L. Magnanti, Massachusetts Institute of Technology James B. Orlin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ravindra K. Ahuja, University of Florida, ISE Department
1992 Winner(s)
Masakazu Kojima, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mathematics & Computer Science Nimrod Megiddo, IBM Shinji Mizuno, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Dept. of Industrial Engineering & Management Toshihito Noma, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Dept. of Information Sciences Akiko Yoshise, University of Tsukuba, Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering
1991 Winner(s)
Frank P. Kelly, Centre for Mathematical Science, University of Cambridge
1990 Winner(s)
Alvin E. Roth, Harvard Business School Mari Ida Sotomayor
1989 Winner(s)
Jean Walrand, University of California - Berkeley
George L. Nemhauser, Georgia Institute of Technology, Dept. of Industrial & Systems Engineering Laurence A. Wolsey, Universite Catholique de Louvain, C O R E
1988 Winner(s)
Robin O. Roundy, Brigham Young University
1986 Winner(s)
Alexander Schrijver, CWI, National Research Institute for Mathematics & Computer Science
1985 Winner(s)
Michael Maltz, University of Illinois - Chicago, Dept. of Criminal Justice
1984 Winner(s)
Narendra Karmarkar
1983 Winner(s)
Martin Shubik
Ellis L. Johnson, School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology Manfred W. Padberg, New York University, Stern School of Business Harlan Crowder
1982 Winner(s)
Karl-Heinz Borgwardt, Universitaet Augsburg
1981 Winner(s)
David Hopkins, Stanford University William Massy, Stanford University
1980 Winner(s)
David M. Eddy , Director Center for the Study of Health & Clinical Policy, Duke University
1979 Winner(s)
Michael R. Garey, AT&T Bell Labs David S. Johnson, AT&T Bell Labs
1977 Winner(s)
Richard M. Karp, University of California - Berkeley, Dept. of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Gerard Cornuejols, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business Marshall L. Fisher, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School Operations & Information Management Dept. George L. Nemhauser, Georgia Institute of Technology, Dept. of Industrial & Systems Engineering
1976 Winner(s)
Ralph L. Keeney, USC Howard Raiffa, Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration
Leonard Kleinrock, University of California, Computer Science Dept.
1975 Winner(s)
Lawrence D. Stone, Metron Incorporated
1974 Winner(s)
Peter Kolesar, Columbia University, Graduate School of Business Warren E. Walker, Delft University of Technology
1973 Winner(s)
Herbert E. Scarf, Yale University Terje Hansen
Louis M. Goreux Alan S. Manne, Stanford University
1972 Winner(s)
Richard C. Larson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1969 Winner(s)
Harvey M. Wagner, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School
1968 Winner(s)
Anthony V. Fiacco, George Washington University, Operations Research Dept. Garth McCormick
1966 Winner(s)
Stafford Beer
1965 Winner(s)
Michel L Balinski, C.N.R.S. and Ecole Polytechnique Rufus Isaacs
1964 Winner(s)
Frederick M. Scherer
1963 Winner(s)
Paul C. Gilmore Ralph E. Gomory , Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
1962 Winner(s)
Robert M. Oliver, University of California - Berkeley Aryeh H. Samuel
1961 Winner(s)
Elio M. Ventura
1960 Winner(s)
Herman F. Karreman
1957 Winner(s)
Maurice F. C . Allais
1956 Winner(s)
Richard E. Zimmerman
1955 Winner(s)
Georges Brigham
1954 Winner(s)
Leslie C. Edie