Brenda Dietrich

Brenda Dietrich
Brenda Dietrich

Past Awards

INFORMS President's Award: 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.

Impact Prize : Winner(s)
2014 - Winner(s)

The Computational Infrastructure for Operations Research (COIN-OR) is an initiative to spur the development of open-source software for the operations research community to accelerate the adoption and evolution of computational operations research. COIN-OR provides development tools, distribution, standards, licensing information, and other infrastructure needed to facilitate and nurture open, community-driven software. 

The COIN-OR initiative was launched at the 2000 International Symposium on Mathematical Programming as a three-year experiment by IBM Research. In 2004, a dedicated nonprofit corporation was formed to take over the successful and growing initiative. In the 14 years of its existence, COIN-OR has grown from its initial offerings of four software projects, to more than 50 projects spanning much of computational operations research.  

COIN-OR has influenced many aspects of operations research: research, practice, education, community, and outreach. Software supported by COIN-OR has been an essential part of hundreds of peer-reviewed research papers and is embedded in dozens of software systems, including the most widely-used environments for performing analytics in practice. Through its online, in-person, and print activities, COIN-OR has been educating the operations research world about OR software and the potential of open source. Thousands of people have been involved with COIN-OR; more than 1400 people subscribe to one or more COIN-OR mailing lists to date. 

COIN-OR is the result of the collaboration of many people over many years, but there are key individuals whose significant early contributions and leadership distinguish them. We recognize the individuals who launched COIN-OR at IBM Research, where the initiative was conceived and grew over the first four years to a successful community repository, and the individuals who incorporated the nonprofit COIN-OR Foundation, Inc., where the initiative has thrived and continues to grow today.

INFORMS is pleased to award the 2014 Impact Prize to: Brenda Dietrich, JP Fasano, John Forrest, Lou Hafer, Brady Hunsaker, Laszlo Ladanyi, Robin Lougee, Theodore K. Ralphs, and Matthew Saltzman, for their pivotal role in the creation and widespread adoption of COIN-OR.

George E. Kimball Medal: Awardee(s)

Brenda L. Dietrich received a B.S in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell. She joined the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center as a Research Staff Member in 1984, prior to completing her graduate studies. During her 27 years at IBM she has held various technical and management positions. She was appointed IBM Fellow in 2007 for her technical and leadership contributions. She is currently Vice President, Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences, in the IBM Research Division.

Brenda Dietrich’s individual research has been in the areas of combinatorial duality and in the application of linear and integer programming in industrial and business decision making. Her more theoretical work included a circuit set characterization for antimatroids and an extension of Hoffman’s theorem regarding Monge sequences for transportations problems to encompass incomplete bipartite graphs. Her most significant applied work, in the area of resource constrained production planning, addressed numerous inventory and capacity allocation decisions within IBM.

In her position at IBM Brenda Dietrich has influenced and contributed to the use of Operations Research based methods throughout IBM. Through her interaction with IBM’s consulting organizations and product groups, she has also influenced the use of Operations Research based products and offerings made available to enterprises and government organizations by IBM. IBM teams under her direction or influence have received the Edelman award, been names finalists in the Edelman competition, and won multiple Wagner prizes . Additionally, her team’s work resulted in IBM’s receiving the INFORMS prize in 1999.

Brenda Dietrich has served on numerous INFORMS committees, on the INFORMS Board as Vice President for Practice activities, and President of INFORMS in 2007. She was a founding member of the Forum for Women in Operations Research and Management Science and was influential in the establishment of the Services Sciences section. She has also served on INFORMS journal editorial boards and on conference program committees, most notably chairing the advisory committee for the first two INFORMS Practice Conferences.

During her tenure on the INFORMS Board, Brenda Dietrich continued to drive the evolution and expansion of the INFORMS Practice Conference. She also established a strategic planning process by which INFORMS plans and manages its portfolio of member services.

For her contributions to the field of operations research and the management sciences and her distinguished service to INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences expresses its sincere appreciation by awarding the 2011 George E. Kimball Medal to Brenda Dietrich.

Stephen M. Robinson is Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering and of Computer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a member of the faculty from 1972 through 2007. He earned the B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1962 with a major in mathematics, the M.S. in mathematics from New York University in 1963, the Ph.D. in computer sciences from the University of Wisconsin in 1971, and a diploma from the U.S. Army War College in 1986. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army from 1962 to 1993, retiring as a colonel after a combination of regular and reserve service.

His research specialty is in variational analysis and mathematical programming, and he is the author, co-author, or editor of seven books and more than 100 scientific research papers. His outstanding research accomplishments have been recognized by the award of the honorary doctor's degree from the University of Zürich, Switzerland, the George B. Dantzig Prize of the Mathematical Programming Society and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the John K. Walker Jr. Award of the Military Operations Research Society. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a National Associate of the National Research Council, and a Fellow of INFORMS and of SIAM.

In addition to research, Robinson has been heavily involved in professional and public service. He was a member of TIMS and ORSA from about 1972 until the merger, and has been a member of INFORMS since then. He served two terms as Treasurer of INFORMS, from 2007 to 2010, and two terms as Secretary of INFORMS from 2000 to 2003, as well as serving on the ORSA Council from 1991 to 1994. Previously he had extensive publications experience as Associate Editor of Operations Research from 1974 to 1986, Editor of Mathematics of Operations Research from 1981 to 1986, and a member of the Combined Publications Committee (a joint activity of TIMS and ORSA) from 1986 to 1993. From 1991 to 1993 he was Chair of that committee, a position that was the functional equivalent of the present INFORMS Vice President-Publications. He has also served on many other INFORMS committees, including the INFORMS Executive Director Search Committee in 2010-2011.

He has been a member of numerous governmental and professional advisory committees, including extensive current service for the National Academies. He is a former elected trustee of the Village of Shorewood Hills, Wisconsin, and from 1991 to 2002 he served on the board of overseers of Simon's Rock College, Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

For his many contributions to the field of operations research and the management sciences and his distinguished service to INFORMS, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences expresses its sincere appreciation by awarding the 2011 George E. Kimball Medal to Stephen M. Robinson.

WORMS Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS: Awardee(s)
2010 - Awardee(s)
INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)