INFORMS President's Award

2021 - Winner(s)

2021 Winner(s)


Dr. Brenda Dietrich earned her Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University and joined IBM Research in 1984. At IBM, she developed and deployed O.R. models and algorithms, both throughout IBM businesses and for IBM clients, with great impact. Her research has resulted in over three dozen patents or pending patents, as well as a comparable number of journal publications. These efforts contributed to IBM being awarded an Edelman Award, several Wagner Prizes, and the INFORMS Prize. Starting in 2001, Dr. Dietrich led the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division for over a decade. In this role, she directed the research of 90 scientists working in areas such as optimization, statistics, data mining, operations research, and dynamical systems. Activities included basic research, as well as the development of leading edge applications for internal use and for clients. She was named an IBM Fellow in 2007, the company's pre-eminent technical distinction, granted in recognition of outstanding and sustained technical achievements and leadership. In 2008 she was appointed IBM vice president and subsequently became the chief technology officer and strategist for IBM's Business Analytics group. In these positions, Dr. Dietrich led IBM's efforts to create and deploy business analytics methods within IBM, within its software products, and through its services engagements.

After 33 years at IBM, Dr. Dietrich returned to Cornell University in 2017 as the Arthur and Helen Geoffrion Professor of Practice in the School of Operations Research to work with students, in teaching and research.

Throughout her career, Dr. Dietrich has provided extraordinary service to INFORMS serving on the INFORMS Board as vice president for Practice, and as president of INFORMS. She was a founding member of the Forum for Women in Operations Research and Management Science (WORMS) and chaired the advisory committee for the first two INFORMS Practice Conferences (now the INFORMS Business Analytics Conference).

Dr. Dietrich has won numerous prestigious awards. She is an INFORMS Fellow and an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering. She has been awarded the INFORMS Kimball Medal for her service contributions, INFORMS Impact Prize for being a founding member of COIN-OR, and the Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS.

INFORMS is proud to recognize Dr. Dietrich with its 2021 President's Award, in recognition of her outstanding contributions in research and leadership at IBM, and for her service to INFORMS and the operations research and analytics community at large.

Purpose of the Award

The purpose of this award is to recognize, and thereby encourage, important contributions to the welfare of society by members of our profession at the local, national, or global level. Achievements suitable for this recognition may be in technical or scientific education or in paid or voluntary consulting or management (commercial, academic, governmental, or nonprofit). The accomplishments honored need not have been documented by personal execution of formal or informal OR/MS studies but could have been reflected in support or promotion of OR/MS efforts. The award is given each year at the National meeting if there is a suitable recipient. The award is a framed certificate with a brief citation.

Award Information

The purpose of this award is to recognize, and thereby encourage, important contributions to the welfare of society by members of our profession at the local, national, or global level.

Click here to learn more about the application process.


2021 Committee Chair:

Steve Graves
2021 INFORMS President


Click here for committee information

Past Awardees

2021 Winner(s)
Brenda Dietrich, Cornell University
2020 Winner(s)
Cynthia Barnhart, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2019 Winner(s)
Dimitris J. Bertsimas , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management and Operations Research Center
2018 Awardee(s)
James J. Cochran, The University of Alabama
2017 Awardee(s)
David Hunt, Oliver Wyman
2016 Awardee(s)
Gerald G. Brown
2015 Awardee(s)
Jack Levis, UPS
2014 Awardee(s)
András Prékopa, Rutgers University
2013 Awardee(s)
Arthur M. Geoffrion, UCLA, Anderson School of Management
2012 Awardee(s)
Andrés P. Weintraub, CSAV
2011 Awardee(s)
Kenneth R. Chelst, Wayne State University
2010 Awardee(s)
Jonathan P. Caulkins, Carnegie Mellon University
2009 Awardee(s)
Ralph L. Keeney, USC
2008 Awardee(s)
Margaret L. Brandeau, Stanford University, Management Science and Engineering
2007 Awardee(s)
Lawrence M. Wein, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business
2006 Awardee(s)
Vijay Chandru, Chairman & CEO, Strand Life Sciences
2005 Awardee(s)
William P. Pierskalla
2004 Awardee(s)
William "Al" Wallace , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Decision Sciences & Engineering Systems
2003 Awardee(s)
Richard C. Larson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2002 Awardee(s)
Edward H. Kaplan, Yale University
2001 Awardee(s)
Seth Bonder, The Bonder Group
2000 Awardee(s)
William W. Hogan
1999 Awardee(s)
Leonard Kleinrock, University of California, Computer Science Dept.
1998 Awardee(s)
Jan M. Chaiken
1997 Awardee(s)
Warren E. Walker, Delft University of Technology
1996 Awardee(s)
Arnold I. Barnett, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management
1995 Awardee(s)
Not Awarded
1994 Awardee(s)
Gerald J. Lieberman, G. Lieberman Consulting LLC Lucius Riccio, Columbia University
1993 Awardee(s)
Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie Mellon University, Heinz College