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Announcing the winner of the 2017 Wagner Prize competition

By Patricia Neri posted 10-23-2017 23:48


The winner of the 2017 Wagner Prize competition is Lehigh University with their entry Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS). Lehigh University engineering students and their professors create program, save prison systems millions. Last week, this work was recognized in the Pennsylvania Capitol, both on the floor of the House and Senate for the significant contribution to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. State representative Steven Samuelson and Senator Lisa Boscola read the citation which was entered in the permanent record of Pennsylvania.


You are invited to attend the Wagner Reprise on Tuesday, October 24, from 3:40-4:30 pm in the convention center, Grand Ballroom A.


Lehigh University developed the inmate assignment project, in close collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. This project took five years from start to successful implementation. Their novel Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS) is designed with the main goal of simultaneously, and system-wide optimally, assigning the inmates to the correctional institutions. IADSS includes a new hierarchical multi-objective MILO model, which accurately describes the inmate assignment problem. This is the first time that OR methodologies have been used to optimize the operations, and built into the routine business practice, of a correctional system, thus it opens a rich and untouched area for the application of OR.


The Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice emphasizes the quality and coherence of the analysis used in practice. Dr. Wagner strove for strong mathematics applied to practical problems, supported by clear and intelligible writing. This prize recognizes those principles by emphasizing good writing, strong analytical content, and verifiable practice successes.


This work has been mentioned in numerous media outlets, including US News and World Report, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Seattle Times and already about 20 additional outlets published the success story:

The Project participants

From the Deparatment of Corrections of PA: Kristofer B. Bucklen Ph.D. Criminal Justice,  Director,  Planning, Research & Statistics

From the ISE Dept.: 1) Professor Tamás Terlaky, George N. and Soteria Kledaras '87 Endowed Chair Professor. 2) Professor Louis J. Plebani 3) Professor George R. Wilson 4) Mohammad Shahab-safa, Ph.D. Candidate Industrial and Systems Engineering 5) Naga Venkata Chaitanya Gudapati, '17G M.Sc. Industrial and Systems Engineering 6) Anshul Sharma, M.Sc. Candidate Industrial and Systems Engineering