Zhuang and Coles receive Koopman Prize from the Military Applications Society of INFORMS

John Coles and Jun Zhuang received the Koopman Prize from Col. Andy Hall, INFORMS Military Applications Society (MAS) president, at the MAS business meeting during INFORMS annual meeting.

by Jane Stoyle Welch

Published December 12, 2017

Jun Zhuang, a professor in UB’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and former student John Coles (PhD 2014, BS 2009), now a senior research scientist and project manager at CUBRC Inc., are the recipients of the 2017 Koopman Prize from the Military Applications Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

“Jun’s research is at the cutting edge of operations research methodologies as applied to a problem of critical national importance. We are proud that his work and that of our PhD alumnus John Coles has been recognized with this prestigious award.”
Ann Bisantz, professor and chair
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering

The prize was named after Bernard Koopman, a founding father of military operations research, to recognize outstanding publications of the previous year. It is accompanied by a plaque and a $500 honorarium.

Entitled “Introducing Terrorist Archetypes: Using Terrorist Objectives and Behavior to Predict New, Complex, and Changing Threats,” the paper deals with the problem of understanding and adapting to terrorist threats in a practical and statistically viable way, which is a significant challenge to intelligence and law enforcement communities around the world. A new approach to developing dynamic profiles for terrorist organizations is introduced, which can be used by decision makers to analyze their evolution and estimate the likelihood of future attacks.

“Jun’s research is at the cutting edge of operations research methodologies as applied to a problem of critical national importance. We are proud that his work and that of our PhD alumnus John Coles has been recognized with this prestigious award,” said Ann Bisantz, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Zhuang's research aims to integrate operations research, big data analytics, game theory, and decision analysis to improve mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery for natural and man-made disasters. Other areas of interest include applications to health care, sports, transportation, supply chain management, sustainability, and architecture.           

His research has been supported by many funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the National Fire Protection Association.

Zhuang joined UB in 2008. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in industrial engineering.

Coles current interests are in healthcare and defense, with a focus on system integration to perform large-scale data analysis, modeling, and simulation. He leads the multidisciplinary Healthcare Informatics Team at CUBRC, an initiative to transition data storage and analytics technologies, originally developed for the U.S. Government, into the healthcare space.

Coles also serves on the Engineering Alumni Association board and on the board of Global Biotechnology and Cancer Therapeutics (GBCT) for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Zhuang and Coles received the award at the Military Applications Society business meeting, which was held during the INFORMS annual meeting in Houston, Texas, on October 23, 2017.