Saul Gass Expository Writing Award

2020 - Winner(s)

2020 Winner(s)

Professor Sheldon Jacobson has been a prolific writer and communicator of operations research for more than 30 years. His 300+ articles include not only academic journal papers but also opinion pieces in newspapers and other public media.

His research and expositions have made significant impact on aviation security policies. The 2006 Naval Research Logistics article, "Multi-level Passenger Screening Problem for Aviation Security," the 2007 Transportation Science article, "A Sequential Stochastic Security System Design Problem for Aviation Security," and his other papers provided the theoretical underpinnings that informed the design of TSA PreCheck, the risk-based airport-security expediting system deployed by the Transportation Security Administration at airports across the United States. His work on aviation security has been recognized by the IATA Aviation Security Research Award (2002) and the 2018 INFORMS Impact Prize.

Over the decades, Professor Jacobson has dedicated his effort to draw the attention of the general public to the power of operations research and analytics for informed policy and decision making. He has written on a broad range of subjects: aviation security, healthcare, transportation, political redistricting and elections, etc. The writings of Prof. Jacobson have reached such a wide audience due to his expository talent for explaining intricate scientific theories in an intuitive way so that the policy implications become clear. As his nominators note: "Sheldon's gift for making complex technical concepts and analysis accessible to the general public is the hallmark of his writings and communications."

For the expository excellence, broad accessibility, and far-reaching impact of his work, Professor Sheldon Jacobson is richly deserving of the Award.

Purpose of the Award

2021 Committee Chair

Laurent El Ghaoui (2021 Chair)

Please email

Click here for committee information.

This award recognizes an author whose publications in operations research and management science have set an exemplary standard of exposition. The awardee's written work, published over a period of at least ten years, should indicate (in terms of breadth of readership) an influence and accessibility enhanced by expository excellence. Criteria include the lucidity, conciseness, logic and interest of the writing at all levels, from the general organization to the details.  The author must have affected, through these publications, how something is done, studied, taught, or thought about by some group within the OR/MS community.

The written work can contain any combination of practical, theoretical and pedagogical subject matter, and may be original, synthetic or historical. The corpus as a whole must be substantial in content, not necessarily prize-worthy in itself, but not trivial.


Enough of the publications in question must have been singly authored to demonstrate the awardee’s expository skill. A team of authors writing together consistently over many years may also be considered for the award.   


The winner will receive $2,000 and a framed certificate that includes a brief citation at the INFORMS Annual Meeting.

Application Process

Nominations due June 30, 2021 

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About the Award/Namesake

Gass Presidential Portrait Photo

Saul Gass was the 25th President of ORSA.

Dr. Gass first served as a mathematician for the Aberdeen Bombing Mission, U. S. Air Force, and then transferred to Air Force Headquarters where he began his career in operations research with the Directorate of Management Analysis, the organization in which linear programming was first developed. For IBM, he was an Applied Science Representative, Manager of the Project Mercury Man-in-Space Program, and Manager of IBM's Federal Civil Programs. He was a member of the Science and Technology Task Force of the President's Commission on Law Enforcement. He was Director of Operations Research for CEIR, Senior Vice-President of World Systems Laboratories, and Vice-President of Mathematica. He served as a consultant to the U. S. General Accounting Office, Congressional Budget Office, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and other operations research and systems analysis organizations.

Learn More About Saul Gass

Past Awardees

2020 Winner(s)
Sheldon H. Jacobson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
2019 Winner(s)
Sunil Chopra, Northwestern University
2018 Awardee(s)
Richard Cottle, Stanford University, Management Science & Engineering
2017 Winner(s)
John N. Tsitsiklis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2016 Winner(s)
Paul Glasserman, Columbia University
2015 Winner(s)
Martin A. Lariviere, Kellogg School of Management
Northwestern University
2014 Winner(s)
Stephen P. Boyd, Stanford University
2013 Winner(s)
Frank P. Kelly, Centre for Mathematical Science, University of Cambridge
2012 Winner(s)
Uriel G. Rothblum, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology
2011 Winner(s)
Ward Whitt, Columbia University, Industrial Engineering & Operations Research Dept.
2010 Winner(s)
Edward H. Kaplan, Yale University
2009 Winner(s)
Dimitri P. Bertsekas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
2008 Winner(s)
Henk C. Tijms, Vrije University
2007 Winner(s)
Paul H. Zipkin, Duke University, Fuqua School of Business
2006 Winner(s)
Sheldon M. Ross, University of Southern California, Dept. of Industrial & Systems Engineering
2005 Winner(s)
Lawrence M. Wein, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business
2004 Winner(s)
Frederick S. Hillier, Professor Emeritus of Operations Research, Stanford University
2003 Winner(s)
Erhan Çinlar, Princeton University, Operations Research & Financial Engineering Dept.
2002 Winner(s)
Ralph L. Keeney, USC Howard Raiffa, Harvard University, Graduate School of Business Administration
2001 Winner(s)
Arnold I. Barnett, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management
2000 Winner(s)
John D.C. Little, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
1999 Winner(s)
David G. Luenberger, Management Science & Engineering Dept., Stanford University
1998 Winner(s)
J. Michael Harrison, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business
1997 Winner(s)
Saul I. Gass, University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business
1996 Winner(s)
Harvey M. Wagner, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Kenan-Flagler Business School