Fatma Kılınç-Karzan Awarded Prize for Young Researchers from INFORMS

Fatma Kılınç-Karzan, assistant professor of operations research at the Tepper School of Business, last week received the Optimization Society Prize for Young Researchers from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) for her paper, “On Minimal Valid Inequalities for Mixed Integer Conic Programs.”

The prize, established in 1998 and administered by the Optimization Society of INFORMS, is awarded annually to young researchers for the most outstanding paper in optimization submitted to and accepted by, or published in a refereed professional journal within the recent years. The prize recognizes promising colleagues who are at the beginning of their academic or industrial careers.

Winners are presented with a monetary prize, a certificate, and an opportunity to present their paper at a special session organized by the Optimization Society during the INFORMS Annual National Meeting that was held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Nov. 1-4, 2015.

Kılınç-Karzan’s paper focuses on fundamental questions related to the dominance relations among valid inequalities in the context of disjunctive conic programs, which encompass Mixed Integer Conic Programs (MICP). This class of programs offers an attractive and flexible modeling framework via a combination of nonlinear yet convex constraints along with discrete decisions and other structured nonconvex restrictions. The resulting representation power of MICPs is essential for a broad range of optimization problems in the decision-making under uncertainty domain as well as in machine learning, statistics, and energy applications. In this context, Kılınç-Karzan’s paper introduces conic-minimality notion to identify the critical properties of necessary inequalities for the convex hull description and establishes necessary conditions, sufficient conditions, as well as practical tools for testing whether a given inequality is conic-minimal.

“INFORMS has been instrumental in advancing operations research for many years; and it is an honor to be recognized and supported by such a prestigious award given by this organization,” said Kılınç-Karzan.

A member of INFORMS, Kılınç-Karzan has been recognized by the organization several times – and this marks her second straight year winning one of its research awards. Another one of her papers, “Two-Term Disjunctions on the Second-Order Cone,” which was co-authored by Tepper PhD student Sercan Yıldız, won first-place in the INFORMS Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG) Best Paper Award Competition. That same year, research that she co-authored with Adams Wei Yu, a then masters student at the Language Technologies Institute, and Jaime Carbonell, a faculty member in the same department, was a finalist in the INFORMS Data Mining Best Student Paper Competition.

Kılınç-Karzan’s research has also been supported by the Carnegie Mellon Berkman Faculty Grant and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) CAREER Award. The CAREER award is one of the NSF’s most competitive awards, providing funding to young researchers to give them an opportunity to focus more closely on furthering their research careers and actively integrating it into education. In particular, it emphasizes high-quality research together with novel education initiatives.

Kılınç-Karzan is one of several faculty members to win recent research awards. Other awardees include: Gérard Cornuéjols, Sridhar Tayur, Param Vir Singh and John Hooker.