Thomas W. Lucas

Past Awards

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

Professor Thomas W. Lucas is a dedicated teacher and mentor both inside and outside the classroom. Most students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) have a job waiting for them when they graduate—typically in a defense organization that places a high value on strong analytic capabilities. These organizations must inform senior leaders on how our armed forces should be equipped, organized, and potentially used. Choices are routinely made that involve billions of dollars and can potentially save many lives. An effective OR analyst in this environment must be able to properly frame questions, handle messy data, build models, find robust solutions, and effectively communicate results to a variety of audiences. Tom truly excels in developing these skill sets as he mentors students. In his combat modeling classes, he supplements the conceptual material by bringing in guest lecturers with expertise in developing and using these models. Via the NPS Simulation, Experiments and Efficient Design (SEED) Center, he sponsored over a dozen workshops that allowed students to work with military officers, software modelers, and defense analysts from around the world on quick-turn simulation and analysis of current problems in defense and national security. The vast majority of Tom’s thesis students have addressed near-term, practical problems; his students are successful OR practitioners by the time they graduate. The caliber of their work is reflected in the numerous awards they have received, and in the response of high-ranking officials. This has led to a growing awareness and recognition within the defense community of the value of using large-scale simulation experiments to inform decision makers. As one former student states, Tom’s “influence on the practice of operations research extends beyond his hundreds of students to their thousands of students and subordinates.” Tom is a “consummate professional who not only possesses a wide breadth of knowledge and experience, but has the gift of being able to impart that knowledge, and what it really means to be an analyst, to his students.”

For his professionalism and contributions to the teaching of practice in Operations Research and the Management Sciences, we present the 2015 INFORMS Prize for Teaching the Practice of OR/MS to Dr. Thomas Lucas.

Koopman Prize: Awardee(s)
2013 - Awardee(s)