A “first-of-its-kind” optimization model developed by Lehigh engineers—in collaboration with Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections (PADOC)—last night received the prestigious Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice for 2017.

The Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS), which was invented by students and faculty members in the department of industrial and systems engineering, streamlines the assignment of inmates to Pennsylvania’s 25 correctional institutions and has been credited with saving the state millions of dollars.

The Wagner Prize is awarded by INFORMS (the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences), the world’s premier professional association for analytics and operations research. The 2017 Prize was awarded last night in Houston at the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting.

The development of IADSS, INFORMS announced in a press release, represents “the first time that operations research methodologies have been used to optimize the operations, and built into the routine business practice, of a correctional system. Thus it opens a rich and untouched area for the application of operations research.”

The Wagner Prize recognizes the application of “strong mathematics…to practical problems supported by clear and intelligible writing, the quality and coherence of analysis, [and] good writing, strong analytical content and verifiable practice successes.”

Read the full story at the Lehigh University News Center.