Professor Cindy Barnhart named president of INFORMS
The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) announced that Professor Cynthia Barnhart is president of the organization, effective Jan. 1, for a one-year term. Barnhart, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and engineering systems, is co-director of MIT’s Operations Research Center and associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Engineering.
Barnhart is an expert in airline scheduling and the delay effects of congestion in the national air transportation system. Interviews with her have appeared in The New York Times and on ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC Evening News and CBS Evening News.
In 2003, Barnhart, Associate Professor Andy Armacost (Ph.D. 2000) of the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the UPS Air Group, won second place in the Franz Edelman Award competition, the annual best cases competition hosted by INFORMS. The program that Barnhart and the research team designed simultaneously determines aircraft routes, fleet assignments and package routings to ensure overnight delivery at minimal cost. A press release by UPS credited the work with saving the company hundreds of millions of dollars.
Barnhart earned the Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering from MIT in 1988. Her research interests include mathematical programming models and large-scale optimization approaches for transportation and logistics systems, and service network design and operations planning for scheduled transportation systems.
Her teaching interests focus on applying optimization models and algorithms to the design, management and operation of transportation systems. She has published extensively in academic and professional journals.
A hallmark of her presidency will be hosting a series of public policy presentations by prominent politicians, government officials, and academics at the INFORMS annual meeting in Washington, D.C. just weeks before the U.S. Presidential election this coming fall. Entitled “Doing Good with Good O.R.,” the presentations will show how operations research analysts approach current challenges in airline congestion and transportation, health care, and energy and the environment.
An interview about reducing airport crowding, encouraging young women to become scientists, and Barnhart’s plans for her INFORMS presidency appears online in the INFORMS newsroom.