David M. Ryan

David M. Ryan

Past Awards

INFORMS Elected Fellows: Awardee(s)

Prize for the Teaching of the OR/MS Practice: Winner(s)

The INFORMS AWARD for the TEACHING of OR/MS PRACTICE is awarded to David M. Ryan. As Professor of Operations Research and former Head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Auckland, David Ryan has inspired and educated a generation of successful OR/MS practitioners in New Zealand and throughout the world.

Under his leadership, the University of Auckland attracted world-class faculty and developed superb graduate and undergraduate programs in operations research. The hallmark of the group is research and teaching driven by real problems, standing on a tripod of theory, practice and implementation. In Professor Ryan's approach to O.R. education, real problems are used to motivate methodology that is introduced with humor, intuition and rigor. As one student put it, "in virtually every lecture, he would mention some of the real applications he was working on, while still presenting the material in a rigorous manner. We learned the mathematical concepts, what they mean and how they are used."

Many of Professor Ryan's former students are OR practitioners in industry, and a few are themselves teachers of O.R. practice. They all cite his infectious passion and boundless enthusiasm as instrumental in their educational and career choices. Some credit him for introducing their firms to O.R. and creating their job opportunities. Former students frequently come back to his classes to describe their work, pose new problems and encourage current students to work in the area. Five of his former students have won the Operational Research Society of New Zealand's Young Practitioner Prize.

A senior executive who employs his graduates remarked, "the caliber of Professor Ryan's students is such that they can contribute significantly to our business straight from their studies." This is consistent with the graduate who said, "he imparted a wealth of knowledge and was committed to making the subject practically relevant for the world outside academia."

For his extraordinary dedication to his students' learning of O.R. practice and the resulting impact on their industries, INFORMS is proud to award its prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice to David M. Ryan.