University Professor! A Life of Practical Mathematics

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On Monday earlier this week, I was finalizing our paper on Noisy Intermediate Scale Quantum (NISQ) computers (from Google, IBM, Rigetti), a different paradigm from Adiabatic Quantum Computations (AQC, from D-Wave, on which we have several papers),

Knuth Bendix Completion Algorithm and Shuffle Algebras for Compiling NISQ Circuits

when I received a call from CMU Provost Jim Garrett informing me that I was elected to the rank of

University Professor.😏

Just a few days earlier, Georgia Perakis and I had received an email from Ozge Sahin:

Thank you again for agreeing to speak at the POMS Doctoral Consortium on May 4 (Saturday)…I have included questions targeted to your panel…  The format of the panel is open, please feel free to choose which questions you’d like to address and decide on the format…

Several of the questions from the students, not surprisingly, were on

how to balance research, teaching and impact

as they build their academic career.


My academic Cursus Honorum is, mirabile dictu, a direct result of the intertwining of mathematical research, real-world implementations and teaching:

1991: Appointed as Assistant Professor (without tenure). 

IPA Derivative technique for Multi-Echelon Inventory Systems

FYI: “Multi-echelon” was “supply chain” avant la lettre.

Papers (sample paths, anti-matroids, Schur-convexity) from PhD Thesis on Kanban Systems published

Implemented Kanban and Lean methods for short, reliable Lead Time quotation at GE

Published papers (adaptive adversary, stochastic dynamic programming) on Reliable Lead Time quotation

Awarded Undergraduate Teaching Award

Grobner Basis (algebraic geometry) methods for Stochastic Scheduling Problems

Randomized Polynomial Time Algorithm (using rapidly mixing Markov Chains) for Convex Optimization

1994: Promoted to Associate Professor (without tenure).

Implemented Vanilla Boxes at IBM (using IPA and Stochastic Programming with Recourse)

 My first PhD Student wins INFORMS Nicholson Prize

Implemented MILP Algorithm for Fractional Jet Scheduling at Raytheon (acquired by Flight Options)

1996: Promoted to Associate Professor (with Tenure). 

Grobner Basis methods for Integer Programs (Hilbert’s Nullstellensatz yields Weak duality!)

Implemented Rapid-Response Supply Chain at Caterpillar (using IPA and Stochastic Inventory models)

1998: Promoted to Full Professor.

Edited Handbook on Quantitative Models for Supply Chain Management

“Consultant to the Firm” of McKinsey & Company

 Executive Education on Internet-based Supply Chains for McKinsey 

First Prize in INFORMS Teaching Case Competition (on Scheduling Private Jets) 

Awarded MBA Teaching Award

 Founded (and became CEO of) SmartOps Corporation

 Advisor and limited partner (LP) in a private equity (PE) fund 

2003: Received an Endowed Chair Professorship.

Implemented SmartOps at Deere (that saved them over $1 Billion in four years)

Implemented Seasonal Logistics Strategy at Deere (MILP plus Stochastic Inventory Theory)

Implemented Product Line Rationalization at Deere (Constrained Programming and MILP)

Implemented SmartOps at Caterpillar

Implemented Lane Strategy, Bundling and Pricing at Caterpillar

Implemented algorithms for scheduling ads in video games at Massive (acquired by Microsoft)

PhD Student wins INFORMS Dantzig Prize for best PhD Thesis

Implemented Production Planning at ConAgra Foods (40+ factories)

Darden Case Study on SmartOps (resold by HBS)

Sold SmartOps to SAP  

Founded OrganJet Corporation and GuardianWings

HBS Case Study on OrganJet and GuardianWings

Guest Lectures at HBS and HKS

OrganJet paper published in Management Science (uses queuing games) wins INFORMS Pierskalla Prize

Invited to the White House by President Obama for innovative contributions in Organ Transplantation

Angel Investor and advisor in startups

Papers on Omni-channel retailing (IPA!) and Online-to-Offline Platforms

Advisor and limited partner (LP) in a venture capital (VC) fund

“Dark side of global supply chains”: Combating Counterfeiting, Child Labor

Edited Handbook of Healthcare Analytics

 Collaboration with NASA Quantum AI Lab (QuAIL)

Algebraic Geometry compiling framework for Adiabatic Quantum Computions (AQC)

Fundamental analysis of AQC using Morse Homology, Cerf Theory and Differential Geometry

Graver basis and hybrid quantum-classical approach for non-linear integer optimization

Knuth-Bendix and Shuffle Algebras for Quantum Circuit Compilation on NISQ computers      

2019: Elected as University Professor. 

I wrote about a bunch of this stuff in my invited article An Essay on Operations Management. You may enjoy it!

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