USAFA wins high-level Operations Research award

INFORMS Prize

Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost (fourth from right), dean of the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Col. Scott Williams, (third from left) head of the academy's Mathematics Department, stand with officials from the Institute for Operations Research and Management Aug. 25, 2017 in Fairchild Hall after receiving the 2017 UPS George Smith Prize. The INFORMS prize was given to the Academy for its innovative Operations Research program.(U.S. Air Force photo/Jason Gutierrez)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

The Institute for Operations Research and Management awarded the prestigious 2017 UPS George Smith Prize to the U.S. Air Force Academy for its innovative Operations Research program, Aug. 25.

Smith was a UPS chief executive officer who championed operations research at Fortune 500 corporations.

Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the Academy’s dean of the faculty, accepted the prize from UPS and INFORMS officials at the Academy.

“It’s an amazing honor to be in the company of such distinguished universities,” he said regarding other academic institutions that have won the award, including MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

Armacost said the prize is the result of the educational advances from the faculty comprising the Academy’s Operations Research program and its four majors: economics, math, management, and computer science. One accomplishment that garnered the Academy the award is its unique educational approach of rotating military faculty between analyst assignments and as instructors and professors, according to the prize criteria.

INFORMS selected the Academy for the award after faculty and cadets presented their  Operations Research program at this year’s INFORMS conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Las Vegas, Nevada. The winner was announced in April at the Edelman Gala, the institute’s award ceremony.

According to INFORMS Prize documents, the Academy was praised for “its distinctive approach to educating students, preparing its graduates to become frontline operations research practitioners as analysts in the Air Force.”

Jim Collins, UPS vice president of industrial engineering, was among INFORMS officials presenting the Academy with the prize.

“We need Operations Research practitioners to solve problems,” he said.

INFORMS will give a $10,000 check to the Academy later this year, Collins said.