2020 INFORMS President's Award

Cynthia Barnhart
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor Cynthia Barnhart has a distinguished career with significant impact in research, service, education, practice, and leadership. She received her Ph.D. at MIT and joined the faculty at Georgia Tech. After 4 years, she returned to MIT and she is currently a Ford Foundation Professor of Engineering, and a professor with appointments in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Sloan School of Management. She has served as the Chancellor of MIT since 2014. Prior to her current role, she served as associate and acting dean of the School of Engineering and co-directed both the Operations Research Center and the Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT.

Dr. Barnhart's teaching and research interests are in the areas of large-scale optimization, airlines operations, the global airline industry, and transportation operations, planning, and control. She has supervised a large group of graduate and undergraduate students across a range of disciplines. She has a stellar publication record, and also had tremendous impact in practice ranging from integrated airline scheduling to improving urban mobility.

Dr. Barnhart has won numerous prestigious awards. She is an INFORMS Fellow, an Edelman Laureate, and an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. She has received honorary doctorates from the École Polytechnique and the University of Toronto.

Dr. Barnhart joined ORSA in 1986 and has been a very active and influential INFORMS member for over 20 years. She has served as the President of INFORMS in 2008 and spearheaded the establishment of the Doing Good with Good OR student paper competition, which helped increase awareness and participation in research and activities focused on societal impact among the INFORMS community. She has been involved in leadership roles in numerous communities including as the President of the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society and the President of the INFORMS Women in Operations Research/Management Science Forum. She has served on the editorial boards of numerous INFORMS journals and also served on various committees.

Dr. Barnhart's numerous accomplishments and service engagements have also been accompanied by her commitment to and impact of mentoring and inspiring others in our community. Despite her incredibly busy schedule, she has been generous with her time in supporting others and setting an excellent example of leadership, integrity, respect, and caring for others. She received the INFORMS award for the Advancement of Women in Operations Research and Management Science, which also recognizes her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

INFORMS is proud to recognize Professor Barnhart with its 2020 President's Award, for her multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary high impact activities in research, practice, education, leadership, and service.