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Awards Hall

Edelman Award Ceremony

Recognizing Distinction in Applications of Analytics, Operations Research, and the Management Sciences

The Franz Edelman Award, emphasizing beneficial impact; INFORMS Prize, emphasizing long-term, multi-project success; Daniel H. Wagner Prize, emphasizing innovative methods and clear exposition; and the UPS George D. Smith Prize, emphasizing effective academic preparation, will be awarded at this elegant presentation. Admission to the award ceremony is included in your registration fee. The ceremony begins at 5:30pm.

Since 1972, INFORMS and the OR/MS and analytics community has celebrated and honored the very best in applied work in business or government with the annual Franz Edelman Award Competition. 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of this outstanding and rigorous competition. Since 2006, we have marked this special occasion with the Edelman Award Ceremony, an evening filled with fun, excitement, and pride for the entire community. The 2021 Award Ceremony, scheduled for Tuesday, April 13, promises to have hundreds of international analytics professionals and business leaders in attendance.

2021 Franz Edelman Award Winner:

Congratulations to UN World Food Programme! For their work:

Towards Zero Hunger with Analytics

The world’s leading humanitarian organization, and 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is saving and changing lives by delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. In 2020, WFP assisted nearly 100 million people across 88 countries. Analytics has underpinned WFP’s management of its vast and complex humanitarian operations, helping it reach more people, respond faster in emergencies, and realize significant savings that are used to improve lives and empower communities.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Edelman Executive Level

Franz Edelman Laureates

The men and women who author Edelman finalist papers each year in INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics are deemed Franz Edelman Laureates. Each is formally presented with The Franz Edelman Medal to recognize this distinction. Laureates are recognized for their significant contribution to work that is selected as representative of the best applications of analytical decision making in the world.

Franz Edelman Laureates are expected to perform two services: to serve as role models for others who wish to follow in their footsteps and to exemplify to those in attendance at the Franz Edelman Gala that challenges can be faced successfully and opportunities for improvement can be found in every organization through the innovative application of analytics.


Alibaba VRP Algorithms Have Enabled Its On-Time Hour Level Delivery
Haoyuan Hu headshot

Haoyuan Hu

Cainiao Network
Jiangwen Wei headshot

Jiangwen Wei

Cainiao Network
Ying Zhang headshot

Ying Zhang

Cainiao Network
Yang Zhan headshot

Yang Zhan

Cainiao Network
Xinhui Zhang headshot

Xinhui Zhang

Freshippo, Alibaba Group
Shaojian Huang headshot

Shaojian Huang

Freshippo, Alibaba Group
Guangrui Ma headshot

Guangrui Ma

Digital Supply Chain, Alibaba Group
Yuming Deng headshot

Yuming Deng

Digital Supply Chain, Alibaba Group
Siwei Jiang headshot

Siwei Jiang

Lazada Group
Pei Li headshot

Pei Li, Alibaba Group

Operations Research Optimization Algorithms Drive Unmanned Warehouse Robots to Work
John Carlsson headshot

John Carlsson

University of Southern California
Jianjun Gao headshot

Jianjun Gao

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Dongdong Ge headshot

Dongdong Ge

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Simai He headshot

Simai He

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Haodong Hu headshot

Haodong Hu

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Hengle Qin headshot

Hengle Qin
Jun Xiao headshot

Jun Xiao
Linwei Xin headshot

Linwei Xin

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business


Advanced Planning and Scheduling in Large Manufacturing Plants Using Reinforcement Learning
Yong Rui headshot

Yong Rui

Jianping Fan headshot

Jianping Fan

Wei Fan headshot

Wei Fan

Yi Liang headshot

Yi Liang

Zan Sun headshot

Zan Sun

Tianheng Song headshot

Tianheng Song

Qiang Chou headshot

Qiang Chou

Peng Bai headshot

Peng Bai

Chun Yang headshot

Chun Yang

Jessie Bai headshot

Jessie Bai

Qiping Zhou headshot

Qiping Zhou


Memorial Sloan Kettering

Automated Radiotherapy Cancer Treatment Planning
Masoud Zarepisheh headshot

Masoud Zarepisheh

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Linda Hong headshot

Linda Hong

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Ying Zhou headshot

Ying Zhou

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Qijie Huang headshot

Qijie Huang

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Jie Yang headshot

Jie Yang

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Gourav Jhanwar headshot

Gourav Jhanwar

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Hai Pham headshot

Hai D. Pham

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Pinar Dursun headshot

Pinar Dursun

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Pengpeng Zhang headshot

Pengpeng Zhang

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Margie Hunt headshot

Margie A. Hunt

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Gig S. Mageras headshot

Gig S. Mageras

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Jonathan Yang headshot

Jonathan Yang

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Josh Yamada headshot

Josh Yamada

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Joseph Deasy headshot

Joseph O. Deasy

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


The Impact of Analytics on OCP
Adrian Becker headshot

Adrian Becker

Dynamic Ideas
Dimitris Bertsimas headshot

Dimitris Bertsimas

Dynamic Ideas
Driss Lahlou Kitane headshot

Driss Lahlou Kitane

OCP Group
Steve Kokkotos headshot

Steve Kokkotos

Dynamic Ideas
Nada El Majdoub headshot

Nada El Majdoub

OCP Group
Gina Mourtzinou headshot

Gina Mourtzinou

Dynamic Ideas

UN World Food Programme

Towards Zero Hunger with Analytics
Koen Peters headshot

Koen Peters

World Food Programme
Sérgio Silva headshot

Sérgio Silva

World Food Programme
Tim Sergio Wolter headshot

Tim Sergio Wolter

World Food Programme
Luis Anjos headshot

Luis Anjos

World Food Programme
Nina van Ettekoven headshot

Nina van Ettekoven

World Food Programme
Éric Combette headshot

Éric Combette

World Food Programme
Anna Melchiori headshot

Anna Melchiori

World Food Programme
Hein Fleuren headshot

Hein Fleuren

Tilburg University
Dick den Hertog headshot

Dick den Hertog

University of Amsterdam
Ozlem Ergun headshot

Ozlem Ergun

Northeastern University

You can view the listing of all Franz Edelman Laureates starting from when the award began in 1972. 

UPS George D. Smith Prize

The George D. Smith Prize is aimed at strengthening ties between academia and industry by rewarding institutions of higher education for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research. The Prize is generously underwritten by UPS. Awarded for the first time in 2012, past winners are Carnegie Mellon University, H. John Heinz III College, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia – Center for Operations Excellence, MIT Leaders for Global Operations, Naval Postgraduate School, and Tauber Institute for Global Operations at University of Michigan.

The 2021 Competitors are:

Gies College of Business logo
Mili Mehrotra headshot

Mili Mehrotra

Vishal Sachdev headshot

Vishal Sachdev

Sridhar Seshadri headshot

Sridhar Seshadri

Ramanath Subramanyam headshot

Ramanath Subramanyam

University of Minnesota, Information & Decision Sciences Department at the Carlson School of Management logo
Gedas Adomavicius headshot

Gedas Adomavicius

Ravi Bapna headshot

Ravi Bapna

Alok Gupta headshot

Alok Gupta

De Liu headshot

De Liu

Ellen Trader headshot

Ellen Trader

Tippie College of Business logo
Ann Campbell headshot

Ann Campbell

Nanette Chapa headshot

Nanette Chapa

Lindsey Peters headshot

Lindsey Peters

Zach Veigulis headshot

Zach Veigulis

The teams will present their work to the judges on Friday, April 9. Videos of the competition will be found in the video on-demand library on the virtual meeting platform.

The Smith Prize winner will be announced at the Edelman Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 13. The 2021 winner will give their presentation on Wednesday, April 14 in the INFORMS Prizes & Special Sessions Track.

2021 UPS George D. Smith Prize Winner:

University of Iowa, Department of Business Analytics

The Smith Prize winner was announced at the Edelman Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 13. The 2021 winner will give their presentation on Wednesday, April 14 in the INFORMS Prizes & Special Sessions Track.

Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research

The Daniel H. Wagner competition is held each fall at the INFORMS Annual Meeting. The 2020 Wagner Prize Reprise will take place on Monday, April 12 in the INFORMS Prizes & Special Sessions Track.

The 2020 Wagner winning submission was authored by:

Saurabh Bansal

Saurabh Bansal

Genaro J. Gutierrez

Genaro J. Gutierrez

Mahesh Nagarajan

Mahesh Nagarajan

Distribution Estimation and Efficient Optimization for Portfolio Management in Agribusiness: Analytical Developments and Benefits

We worked with an agribusiness firm to develop new mathematical algorithms to manage the firm’s annual $1 Billion portfolio of more than 200 seeds offered to farmers in the continental U.S. The algorithms included, (i) optimization-development to deduce probability distributions for production yields for new products when managers provide partial information for the distributions, and (ii) a decomposition based development to optimize the production plan for the firm’s portfolio with more than 600 uncertainties. The algorithms have yielded substantial monetary savings and intangible benefits.

This prize emphasizes the quality and coherence of the analysis used in practice. Dr. Wagner strove for strong mathematics applied to practical problems, supported by clear and intelligible writing. The Wagner Prize recognizes those principles by emphasizing good writing, strong analytical content and verifiable practice successes. The competition is held and the winner is announced at the INFORMS Annual Meeting in the fall.

Past awardees include practitioners and researchers from Lehigh University and the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, CDC, Ford, U.S. Coast Guard, Intel, IBM T. J. Watson Research, Schneider National, Boston University, University of Florida, and others.

Learn more about the Daniel H. Wagner Prize here.

Consider applying for the 2021 Wagner Prize competition!

Submission deadline
May 2, 2021 

Learn more about the Wagner Prize application process here.

Innovative Applications in Analytics Award (IAAA)

Sponsored by INFORMS Analytics Society, Kinaxis, and Adelphi University

The IAAA Finalists will present on Tuesday, April 13 in the INFORMS Prizes & Special Sessions Track. The winner will be announced at the closing plenary session on Wednesday, April 14.

The purpose this award is to recognize the creative and unique application of a combination of analytical techniques in a new area. The prize promotes the awareness and value of the creative combination of analytics techniques in unusual applications to provide insights and business value. The Analytics Section leadership would like to cordially thank all the members of the judging committee for their hard work in selecting these finalists.

2021 IAAA Competition Winners:

Winner (1st):

Data-driven COVID-19 Vaccine Development for Janssen

Dimitris Bertsimas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Najat Khan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Jennings Xu, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Jose Zamalloa, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Amir Hashemi, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Ankit Lodha, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Yuqi Shang, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Kris Standish, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Shi-hua Yu, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Levon Demirdjian, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Xiaoying Wu, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Sid Jain, Janssen Pharmaceuticals
Michael Lingzhi Li, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Omar Skali Lami, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Hamza Tazi Bouardi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ali Haddad-Sisakht, Dynamic Ideas LLC

Runner-up (2nd):

Operations Research Improves Biomanufacturing Efficiency at MSD Animal Health 

Tugce Martagan, Eindhoven University of Technology
Bram van Ravenstein, MSD Animal Health
Oscar Repping and Marc Baaijens, MSD Animal Health

Second Runner-up (3rd):

Predictive Analytics for Detection of Metastatic Cancer

Brian Denton, University of Michigan
Selin Merdan, University of Michigan
Christine Barnett, University of Michigan
David Miller, University of Michigan
James Montie, University of Michigan

Tuesday, April 13 at 1:45pm EDT

Tuesday, April 13 at 2:25pm EDT

Tuesday, April 13 at 3:05pm EDT

Tuesday, April 13 at 3:45pm EDT

Tuesday, April 13 at 4:25pm EDT

Tuesday, April 13 at 5pm EDT

Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics

Brought to you by INFORMS Analytics Society
Powered by IdeaConnection

The population of Earth is growing daily and our world is running out of land needed to produce food. Meanwhile, the crops farmers plant face escalating challenges due to increasingly variable growing conditions and climate change.

Today, the agriculture industry works to maximize the amount of food we gain from crops by breeding plants with the strongest, highest-yielding genetics. Plant breeding is complex, and data analytics can help scientists at research and development organizations like Syngenta make advances in seed product development

Syngenta has proven that data-driven strategies can help our industry accelerate innovation and breed better seeds that require fewer resources and are adaptable to more diverse environments. Developing models that can predict the performance of potential corn products can help scientists more accurately select seeds that increase the productivity of the crops farmers plant – and will help address the growing global food demand.

Teams will put their analytics skills to the test for a chance to win up to $5,000.

The finalists will present on Monday, April 12. The winner will be announced at the closing plenary session on Wednesday, April 14.

2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics Winners:

First Place:

Optimal Schedules for Corn Planting and Storage
Reena Kapoor and Rodolfo García-Flores affiliated with CSIRO Data61 (Australia)

Second Place:

A Multiobjective, Soft Constraint Solution to the 2021 Syngenta Crop Challenge
Mingshi Cui, Kunting Qi, and Byran Smucker from Miami University (USA)

Third Place:

Optimizing Crop Planting Schedule Considering Planting Window & Harvesting Capacity
Saiara Samira Sajid and Guiping Hu from Iowa State University (USA)

Monday, April 12 at 10am EDT

Monday, April 12 at 10:30am EDT

Monday, April 12 at 11am EDT

Monday, April 12 at 11:30am EDT