Share with your friends


Analytics Magazine

Lehigh Univ., Pennsylvania Department of Corrections win Wagner Prize

Lehigh University students and professors teamed up with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to earn the 2017 Wagner Prize.

Nearly 100 unique factors have to be considered during the complicated task of assigning inmates to any of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ 25 facilities. What once took seven employees nearly a week to accomplish can now be completed in less than 10 minutes at an expected savings of nearly $3 million, thanks to an algorithm created by a team of Lehigh University students and professors and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. In recognition of their unique new application of operations research (O.R.), Tamás Terlaky, Mohammad Shahabsafa, Chaitanya Gudapati, Anshul Sharma, Louis J. Plebani and George R. Wilson of Lehigh University and Kristofer B. Bucklen of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections were presented the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice by INFORMS, the leading international association for analytics and operations research professionals.

The prize-winning paper, “The Inmate Assignment and Scheduling Problem and its Application in the PA Department of Corrections,” not only realized profound success in a real-world setting, but it had a strong mathematical foundation that was easily and concisely communicated. The award was presented during the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston, which attracted more than 5,600 students, academics, professionals and industry leaders from around the world.

Over a period of five years, the team from Lehigh University worked closely with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to successfully implement the novel Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS). IADSS was designed to address the problems associated with inmate assignment by providing an optimal, simultaneous system-wide assignment tool. The project, which has been recognized for its contribution on the floors of the House and Senate in the Pennsylvania Capitol and included in the permanent record of Pennsylvania, is the first time that O.R. methodologies have been used to optimize operations in the correctional system.

Other finalists for the 2017 award included:

  • “Forecasting and Optimization Models for Audience Targeting on Television” by Wes Chaar, J. Antonio Carbajal, CAP, and Peter Alexander Williams, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
  • “Crew Decision Assist: Optimizing Crew Deployment for Freight Trains” by Dasaradh Mallampati, Brian Roth, Poojah Dewan, April Kuo and Juan Morales, BNSF Railway, and Anant Balakrishnan, University of Texas at Austin
  • “Optimized Scoring Systems: Towards Trust in Machine Learning for Healthcare and Criminal Justice” by Cynthia Rudin, Duke University, and Berk Ustun, MIT
  • “Outcome-Driven Personalized Treatment Design for Managing Diabetes” by Eva Lee, Georgia Tech
  • “Dispatch Optimization in Bulk Tanker Transport Operations” by Ted L. Gifford, Tracy Opicka, Ashesh Sinha, Daniel Vanden Brink and Andy Gifford, Schneider National Incorporated, and Robert Randall, Princeton Consultants

Related Posts

  • 45
    During the recent 2016 INFORMS Annual Meeting, Vice President of Marketing and Outreach Laura Albert McLay unveiled an exciting change for the organization – a new logo that will officially begin to be used with the launch of the new INFORMS website in the spring of 2017.
    Tags: informs
  • 44
    The 2017 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research will take place in Las Vegas on April 2-4 at Caesars Palace. Analytics 2017 will bring together nearly a thousand leading analytics professionals and industry experts to share ideas, network and learn through real-life examples of data-based analytical decisions.
    Tags: operations, informs
  • 43
    The 2017 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R. in Las Vegas this spring will feature a special day-long event for a select group of practice-oriented analytics and operations research graduate students. The INFORMS Professional Colloquium (IPC), scheduled for April 2, will provide students nominated by their departments and competitively…
    Tags: students, informs, o.r, operations
  • 41
    Holiday Retirement won the 2017 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences from INFORMS for its use of operations research (O.R.) to improve the pricing model for its more than 300 senior living communities across the United States.
    Tags: operations, award, o.r, informs, included, system, $, presented
  • 41
    The Innovative Applications in Analytics Award (IAAA), sponsored by Caterpillar and the INFORMS Analytics Society, recognizes creative and unique applications of analytical techniques. As stated on the award website, the prize “promotes the awareness and value of the creative combination of analytics techniques in unusual applications to provide insights and…
    Tags: award, informs, system


Study: The magic of animated movies not tied to latest technology

In the nearly 60 years between the 1939 release of Hollywood’s first full-length animated movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and modern hits like “Toy Story,” “Shrek” and more, advances in animation technology have revolutionized not only animation techniques, but moviemaking as a whole. However, a new study in the INFORMS journal Organization Science found that employing the latest technology doesn’t always ensure creative success for a film. Read more →

Six finalists named for Edelman Award

INFORMS selected a diverse group of six finalists for the 47th annual Franz Edelman Award for Achievements in Operations Research and Management Science, the world’s most prestigious award for achievement in the practice of analytics and O.R. The 2018 finalists, who will present their work before a panel of judges at the INFORMS Conference on Analytics & Operations Research in Baltimore on April 15-17, included innovative applications in broadcasting, healthcare, communication, inventory management, vehicle fleet management and alternative energy. Read more →

Are Super Bowl ads worth it? New research suggests benefits persist

On Feb. 4, more than 40 percent of U.S. households will watch the 2018 Super Bowl game on TV. Advertisers will pay up to $4 million for a 30-second spot during the telecast. Is the high cost of advertising worth it? A new study finds that the benefits from Super Bowl ads persist well into the year with increased sales during other sporting events. Further, the research finds that the gains in sales are much more substantial when the advertiser is the sole advertiser from its market category or niche in a particular event. Read more →



2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research
April 15-17, 2018, Baltimore


CAP® Exam computer-based testing sites are available in 700 locations worldwide. Take the exam close to home and on your schedule:

For more information, go to