Batta receives Koopman Prize from the Military Applications Society of INFORMS

By Nicole Capozziello

Published December 20, 2018

Rajan Batta, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and SEAS associate dean for faculty affairs, human resources and diversity, recently won the 2018 Koopman Prize from the Military Applications Society of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS).

“Rajan is internationally recognized for solving complex logistical problems that benefit society as a whole. The Koopman Prize nationally recognizes one of his important recent contributions that will improve military operation effectiveness to enhance the overall security of our nation.”
Victor Paquet, professor and chair
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
portrait photo of Rajan Batta

Rajan Batta, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and SEAS associate dean for faculty affairs, human resources and diversity

The prize, named after Bernard Koopman, a founding father of military operations research, recognizes outstanding publications of the previous year. Batta collaborated on the publication with UB alumnus Yan Xia (PhD 2015), now a senior research scientist at Amazon, and Rakesh Nagi, Donald Biggar Willett Professor in Engineering and Department Head of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The award is accompanied by a plaque and a $500 honorarium.

“Receiving this prize is highly gratifying as it tells us that our peers value this work,” says Batta, whose solutions-focused research also focuses on hazardous-materials routing/logistics, convoy routing, routing/scheduling of automated guided vehicles, modeling repair of a transportation network, gasoline-supply logistics, and electric-vehicle routing and location of charging stations.

The paper, entitled “Routing a Fleet of Vehicles for Decentralized Reconnaissance with Shared Workload among Regions with Uncertain Information,” concerns organizing a search in which the searchers can coordinate only at the beginning –not during the search due to fear of being discovered. Such a scenario could include a spy mission in which several spies are sent to discover a rogue individual. Though still largely theoretical, this work has the potential to improve aerial and military surveillance.         

“Rajan is internationally recognized for solving complex logistical problems that benefit society as a whole. The Koopman Prize nationally recognizes one of his important recent contributions that will improve military operation effectiveness to enhance the overall security of our nation,” says Victor Paquet, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

Batta has a sustained record of research funding, receiving more than $13 million in awards from federal agencies, among them the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice; local governments, including the city of Buffalo; and private industry, such as Boeing, United Airlines and Lockheed Martin. He is also a recipient of IIE’s David F. Baker Distinguished Research Award and the SUNY Research Foundation Award for Research and Scholarship, the Research Foundation’s highest award.

Batta received his PhD in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of technology in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.

“Winning this award helps to grow the visibility and recognition of the ISE department at UB,” says Batta. ISE faculty and students took home three other awards at the INFORMS Conference.