Dr. Smilowitz will discuss connections between evolving issues in public education and advances in optimization, computing and geographic information systems, beginning with early work motivated by Supreme Court decisions to desegregate schools. The talk will end with a reflection on current issues facing public school districts, including school busing and return-to-school plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ways in which operations research can be part of these discussions.
Dr. Karen Smilowitz is the James N. and Margie M. Krebs Professor in Industrial Engineering and Management Science at Northwestern University, with a joint appointment in the Operations group at the Kellogg School of Management. Dr. Smilowitz is an expert in modeling and solution approaches for logistics and transportation systems in both commercial and non-profit applications, working with transportation providers, logistics specialists and a range of non-profit organizations. Dr. Smilowitz is the founder of the Northwestern Initiative on Humanitarian and Non-Profit Logistics. She has been instrumental in promoting the use of operations research within the humanitarian and nonproﬁt sectors through the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Engineering, as well as various media outlets. Dr. Smilowitz is Editor-in-Chief of Transportation Science. Dr. Smilowitz received the Award for the Advancement of Women in OR/MS from INFORMS and led the winning team in the INFORMS Innovative Applications of Analytics Award.