School of Operations Research and Information Engineering

The School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE) is a nexus for decision making enabled by data science, mathematical modeling and computation. These elements are present throughout ORIE, in its faculty, academic programs and culture. ORIE also develops the scientific foundations underlying these elements, ensuring that cutting-edge analytical tools are wielded skillfully and appropriately. The School of ORIE is:

  • Proud to maintain close ties to industry through the college’s flagship Master of Engineering program and the first industry affiliate program in the college (Operations Research Advances through CoLlaboration — ORACL)
  • Highly ranked in part due to its historical strength in the methodology of optimization and decision-making
  • The College’s most significant presence at Cornell Tech outside of Computer Science; we will have five faculty members there in the fall of 2021. In addition, ORIE has further ties to New York City through its New York based Master of Engineering program; Cornell Financial Engineering Manhattan.
  • A leader in the College with very little required investment relative to other disciplines; ORIE needs neither wet labs nor significant faculty startup packages. Indeed, ORIE is a fantastic deal for the College

Jamol Pender, postdoctoral associate in Operations Research and Information Engineering (photo by Lindsay France, Cornell University)

As an example of ORIE’s leadership, Cornell’s Ithaca campus has now successfully navigated an in person Fall semester despite the huge challenges presented by COVID. ORIE faculty members and PhD students have played an outsized role in enabling this success. Peter Frazier’s modeling team, including faculty members Professors Shane Henderson and David Shmoys and five PhD students, provided an analysis in June that compared in-person versus all-online instruction. The conclusion was that in-person was, in fact, safer, due to the additional interventions that could be applied. This analysis was a driving force behind President Pollack’s decision to proceed with an in-person semester. The team subsequently analyzed the resilience of Cornell’s planned interventions to unplanned contingencies, quantified the benefits of group testing in both catching cases and reducing the cost of the testing program, and provided advice on quarantine/isolation capacity and myriad other policy questions. Meanwhile, David Shmoys’ scheduling team, including ORIE faculty members Dietrich, Gunluk, and Williamson and PhD students rebuilt the entire fall Ithaca campus class schedule, prelim schedule, and semifinal schedule to account for the unique challenges presented by a hybrid in-person/on-line semester.

A Bold Vision for ORIE

ORIE faculty believe that most of the following initiatives are achievable within 5 years. We are not yet fully committed to these due to the short timeframe over which this planning exercise has been conducted, thereby limiting time for faculty discussion, but are working towards a consensus.

  • Strategic Priority 1

  • Strategic Priority 2

  • Strategic Priority 3

  • Strategic Priority 4

Rhodes Hall

Rhodes Hall. (Photo by Jason Koski, Cornell University.)