Impact Prize

2020 - Winner(s)

2020 Winner(s)


Supply chains are networks by which raw materials are processed into delivered goods and services. They critically affect almost every aspect of our daily lives, including the provision of food and clothing, financial services, household and business products and services, healthcare and supplies, computer and communication equipment and services, transportation and utilities. Many modern supply chains are complex webs of interconnected entities, involving suppliers of raw components, producers of goods and services, warehouses, distributors, sellers and end users, often located in diverse regions around the world.

Management of supply chains has seen enormous advances in efficiency in recent decades with innovations such as just-in-time processing. However, high profile events such as the 2011 tsunami in Japan and floods in Thailand, and most recently, the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the increased susceptibility to risk of these supply chains due to disruption from unexpected events in this age of increased efficiency and global interconnectedness. Supply chain risk management aims to balance efficiency with resiliency by taking strategic steps to identify, assess, and mitigate risk throughout the supply chain.

Over the past decade, David Simchi-Levi has spearheaded the development and continual refinement of a new approach to supply chain risk management that is especially suited to handling disruptions associated with unforeseen, low-probability, high-impact events. The methodology, referred to as the Risk Exposure Index (REI), quantitatively analyzes supply chain resiliency, identifies hidden risks, and suggests mitigation strategies to address these risks. Through his publications, lectures, webinars, and interviews, David Simchi-Levi has ensured that the ideas, concepts, and innovations of REI, which are grounded in operations research, are accessible to a wide audience in academia, industry, and government. This transformative methodology has been adopted by a wide range of organizations, including the automotive and telecommunications industries, government agencies such as the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and logistics and consulting companies. Key REI concepts, such as Time-to-Recover (TTR) and Time-to-Survive (TTS), have permeated the vocabulary of supply chain managers. Stress testing of critical supply chains is being emphasized by global logistics and consulting companies.

For his leading role in developing and disseminating a new highly impactful paradigm for the identification and mitigation of risks in supply chains, INFORMS is pleased to award the 2020 Impact Prize to David Simchi-Levi.

Purpose of the Award

The Impact Prize, awarded once every two years, is intended to recognize widespread impact in the practice of operations research. It may be awarded to an individual or a single set of collaborators. The award may be given for the original research (if these ideas have been widely adopted), and/or for special efforts required to bring the research to a practical form (e.g., implementation as a software package or the communication of a body of research through writings, teaching, and consulting). The important criterion is breadth of use in practice and relevance to operations research. The technical assessment of the quality of the work is considered secondary to the degree to which it has been widely adopted.  

Princeton Consultants

The Impact Award is generously sponsored by Princeton Consultants, Inc.  

This is not a research award. The awards committee is not judging the quality of a body of work. Instead, emphasis will be placed on evaluating the breadth of the impact of an idea or body of research. If the major contribution of the individual or group is bringing an idea to a practice community, the precise nature of this contribution needs to be understood (leading a software company; lectures and writings).

The prize consists of a framed citation and a cash award of $1,000.

Initial Nominations Due May 30, 2020 (extended from April 30, 2020)

Nominations will take place in two phases.
The initial nomination should be brief (no more than a page), and should contain the name of the person or set of collaborators responsible for the contribution; a brief summary of the idea or technology that is the basis of the award; a description of the industry or practitioner population that uses the idea; and the nature of the contribution made by the person or group being nominated (creator of the idea or technology).

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2020 Committee Chair

Professor Ruth Williams
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

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Past Awardees

2020 Winner(s)
David Simchi-Levi, MIT Operations Research Center
2018 Awardee(s)

Laura Albert, Kenneth C. Fletcher, Sheldon H. Jacobson, Adrian J. Lee, and Alexander Nikolaev

Laura Albert, University of Wisconsin-Madison Kenneth C. Fletcher, Kestrel Hawk Consulting, Inc Sheldon H. Jacobson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Adrian Lee, University of Illimois at Urbana-Champaign Alexander Nikolaev, University at Buffalo
2016 Awardee(s)
Peter P. Belobaba, MIT Thomas M. Cook Guillermo Gallego, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Robert L. Phillips, Nomis Solutions, Inc. Barry Smith, Sabre Holdings
Kalyan T. Talluri, Imperial College Business School Garrett J. van Ryzin, Cornell Tech E. Andrew Boyd, University of Houston and Houston Public Media
2014 Winner(s)
Brenda Dietrich, IBM T.J. Watson Research Center JP Fasano, IBM John Forrest, IBM Lou Hafer, Simon Fraser University Brady Hunsaker, Google Laszlo Ladanyi, IBM Robin Lougee, IBM Theodore K. Ralphs, Lehigh University Matthew Saltzman, Clemson University
2010 Winner(s)
Fred Glover and Solver
2008 Winner(s)
Dr. Thomas L. Saaty
2004 Awardee(s)
Fred W. Glover, OptTek Systems, Inc.