PSOR Newsletter

Volume 8, No. 1, October 2020

Contents of this Issue

  • PSOR Tracks at the 2020 INFORMS Annual Meeting
  • PSOR Best Paper
  • PSOR Elections
  • Business Meeting
  • From the Editor




PSOR Sessions at the 2020 INFORMS Annual Meeting

There are 35 Public Sector OR sessions with a total of 142 presentations during the 2020 Virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting which takes place from November 8-13 online. The sessions and the session numbers are listed below. Details about the authors and presentations in the sessions can be found by following this link.

Sunday, November 8

  • SA19. Analytical Models for Capacity Building in Global Health and Humanitarian Operations
  • SA20. Humanitarian Response to Man-made and Natural Disasters

Monday, November 9

  • MB19. Analytics for Healthcare and Public Safety
  • MB20. Modeling Healthcare Operations Under Uncertainty
  • MC19. Analytics for Public Needs and Safety
  • MC20. Modeling Prioritization Decisions in Healthcare
  • MD19. Application-Driven Research in Humanitarian and Healthcare Operations
  • MD20. Operations Research for Policing
  • MD62. A Behavioral Perspective on Humanitarian and Sustainable Operations

Tuesday, November 10

  • TB18. Examples of Analytics in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations
  • TB19. Analytics in home health
  • TB20. Policy Design according to User Preferences
  • TC19. Community Systems Analytics - Supply Chain, Smart City, Healthcare
  • TC20. Political Redistricting
  • TD18. Practice of Analytics in Public Sector and Non-Profit Organizations
  • TD19. Community-Based Operations Research
  • TD20. PSOR Best Paper Competition Finalists
  • TD43. Data Science for Disaster Management

Wednesday, November 11

  • WB19. Competition and collaboration in Emergency Medical Services
  • WB20. Public Policy Evaluation
  • WB56. Human Trafficking I
  • WC19. Data Driven Disaster Resilience
  • WC20. Public Safety in a Pandemic
  • WC56. Human Trafficking II
  • WD19. Data-Driven Research in Humanitarian, Health, and Non-Profit Operations
  • WD20. Resilient Infrastructure and Community Networks

Thursday, November 12

  • ThB19. Decision Analytic Models for Public Health
  • ThC19. Decision making in Healthcare
  • ThD19. Public Safety in a Pandemic II

Friday, November 13

  • FB18. Disaster Management with Optimization Models
  • FB19. Disaster Operations Management 2
  • FC18. Threats to Life and Limb (In Honor of Al Blumstein on His 90th Birthday)
  • FC19. Humanitarian and Disaster Operations Management
  • FD18. Disaster Operations Management
  • FD19. Humanitarian Operations and Disaster Management

2020 PSOR Best Paper Competition

We received 49 submissions this year, from many different areas of Public Sector topics. These papers cover a wide range of applications, from healthcare to politics. It was truly an impressive set of papers. The table below summarizes the 49 submissions by topics.

Application Topics # of papers
Healthcare delivery/ medical decision modeling/ pharma 17
Urban planning/ transportation/ supply chains/ logistics 10
Emerging Economies/ poverty/ social issues/ homelessness 8
Social responsibility/ sustainability/ climate change/ environment/ agriculture 6
Disease modeling/ vaccination/ pandemic/ terrorism/ threat analysis 5
Humanitarian/ Disaster Response 2
Elections/voting/politics 1

We are very thankful to the many judges who devoted considerable effort. Please also plan on attending the PSOR Best Paper Competition Session, TD20 on Tuesday, November 10, 4:30-5:45 pm, where the finalists will present their work. The winner will be announced at the PSOR Business Meeting at the upcoming 2020 virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting. The four finalists and their paper titles are in the Table below.

Title (in no particular order) Authors
Adaptive Clinical Trial Designs with Surrogates: When Should We Bother? Arielle Anderer (The Wharton School)
Hamsa Bastani (The Wharton School)
John Silberholz (University of Michigan)
Improving Farmers' Income on Online Agri-platforms: Theory and Field Implementation of a Two-stage Auction Retsef Levi (MIT)
Manoj Rajan (Rashtriya e Market Services Limited)
Somya Singhvi (MIT)
Yanchong Zheng (MIT)
Online Policies for Efficient Volunteer Crowdsourcing Vahideh Manshadi (New Haven)
Scott Rodilitz (Yale)
Heterogeneous Donor Circles for Fair Liver Transplant Allocation Subramanian Raghavan (University of Maryland-College Park)
Shubham Akshat (University of Maryland-College Park)
Sommer Gentry (United States Naval Academy)

The judging committee is chaired by Dan Adelman (University of Chicago). We sincerely appreciate the great efforts of the judging committee. We also like to acknowledge all our judges:

  • Saed Alizamir Yale SOM
  • Nilay Tanik Argon UNC
  • Kate Astashkina University of Michigan Ross
  • Turgay Ayer Georgia Tech ISYE
  • Carri W. Chan Columbia
  • Soo-Haeng Cho Carnegie Mellon
  • Tinglong Dai Johns Hopkins
  • Sarang Deo Indian School of Business
  • Pnina Feldman Boston Univ Questrom
  • Evrim Didem Güneş Koç University
  • Robert C. Hampshire University of Michigan, Public Policy
  • Jonas Jonasson MIT Sloan
  • Jun Li University of Michigan
  • Irene Lo Stanford
  • Iva Rashkova Washington University
  • Soroush Saghafian Harvard Kennedy
  • Auyon Siddiq UCLA Anderson
  • Ravi Subramanian Georgia Tech Scheller
  • Joline Uichanco University of Michigan Ross

PSOR Officers 2020


Shengfan Zhang

University of Arkansas


Jessica Heier Stamm

Kansas State University

Secretary / Treasurer

Ashlea Bennett Milburn

University of Arkansas

Senior VP of Programs

Ronald McGarvey

University of Missouri

Junior VP of Programs

Muer Yang

University of St. Thomas

VP of Communications

Xiaolei Xie

Tsinghua University

2020 PSOR elections

PSOR officers include President, President-Elect, Secretary/ Treasurer, Senior Vice President of Programs, Junior Vice President of Programs, and Vice President of Communications. The positions that are to be elected for the year 2020 are listed below. 

The President-Elect shall assist the President and substitute for the President as needed, including presiding at meetings. The President-Elect shall succeed to the office of President upon completion of the latter’s term of office or if a vacancy occurs in the latter office. Candidates are

  • Andrew Trapp. Associate Professor of Operations and Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), with courtesy professorships in Mathematical Sciences and Data Science. 


JUNIOR VICE-PRESIDENT OF PROGRAMS: The Junior Vice President of Programs shall assist the Senior Vice President of Programs. The Junior Vice President of Programs shall succeed to the office of Senior Vice President of Programs upon completion of the latter’s term of office or if a vacancy occurs in the latter office. Candidates are

  • Justin J. Boutilier. Assistant Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering and Honorary Fellow in Emergency Medicine at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
  • Melih Celik. Senior Lecturer (Assistant Professor) of Operational Research at the University of Bath (United Kingdom).
  • Yichuan Ding. Assistant Professor in the Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University.

SECRETARY-TREASURER: The Secretary-Treasurer shall (a) support the President in the preparation of meeting agendas and subdivision budgets, (b) take minutes, (c) keep financial and other records, (d) receive membership applications, (e) maintain contact with the INFORMS, and (g) perform other duties usual to the offices of Secretary and Treasurer, including disbursing, receiving, managing and overseeing funds, in accordance with the rules and procedures of INFORMS.

  • Chaitra Gopalappa. Associate Professor in Industrial Engineering at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
  • Ashlea Bennett Milburn. Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas.


VICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS: The Vice President of Communications shall be responsible for maintaining the website, the newsletter, and any other external or internal communications outlets. Candidates are

  • Charles Hannigan. 5th year Ph.D. candidate in the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Management Science and Operations Management program.
  • Phebe Vayanos. Assistant Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Southern California.

2020 PSOR Business Meeting

We will hold the PSOR Business Meeting at Zoom online virtual room on Tuesday, November 10th, from 05:45 pm to 06:45 pm (EST), at the 2020 Virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting.

We invite all to join us. Share the Zoom information with whom interested. The topics that we are going to discuss in the meeting are: 

  • Introduction of PSOR
  • Election results
  • Best Paper Award

From the Editor

Dear members,

As the first virtual INFORMS Annual Meeting is fast approaching, and I hope you all are getting ready for the conference activities. The Section on Public Sector Operations Research covers a wide range of applications, from healthcare delivery to politics. We also have several sessions and many papers focusing on disease modeling and vaccination as well, which contribute to the prevention and treatment of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hope to see you all at the 2020 INFORMS Annual Meeting.

Please let me know about your successes, so that the Business Meeting in the annual conference and future issues of “The Briefing” can highlight your accomplishments. Please also consider letting our board members know how we can make the section truly a professional forum for you, our dearest members, to showcase operations research as a scientific approach to public sector issues and problems. As a society, we have tremendous opportunities to create and disseminate knowledge which can help fight the pandemic. Please let us know how we promote this effort together. Lastly, I wish everyone safe and healthy.

Best regards,

Xiaolei Xie
VP of Communications, PSOR


Previous Issues of the Briefing

Previous Issues of the Briefing, Public Sector OR Newsletter, are available here.

Volume 8, 2020

Volume 7, 2019

Volume 6, 2017

Volume 5, 2014

Volume 4, 2013

Volume 3, 2012

Volume 2, 2011

Volume 1, 2009

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments.