The Phillip McCord Morse Lectureship, awarded biennially by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, recognizes excellence in the field of operations research and management science. Edward Kaplan, the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Management Science at the Yale School of Management, Professor of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health, and Professor of Engineering in the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Science, most recently received this honor.
The fields of operations research and management science integrate advanced analytical techniques such as applied mathematics, science, and engineering, to improve decision-making and maximize the overall efficiency of various systems and programs. Operations research professionals are recruited to solve a number of problems, including how to best schedule airline planes and crew, where to place facilities within a city, and even how to design a queue line in an amusement park. Kaplan believes that “operations research is as likely to refer to state-of-the-art mathematical research in optimization methods or stochastic processes as it is to empirical studies for improving actual operations.”
By combining his qualifications as professor of both public health and engineering with his background in operations research, Kaplan has even built mathematical models to address issues relating to terrorism response techniques. Kaplan claims that “while there are many applications of operations research for improving business and society, helping to save lives and win battles remains pretty high on my list.” Kaplan currently co-directs a joint initiative with the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Homeland Security and Counterterror Operations Research in order to work towards this very goal.