Concepts familiar from grade-school algebra have broad ramifications in computer science.
Yossi Sheffi, director of the Center for Transportation Studies, was presented with the Distinguished Service Award of the Council of Logistics Management (CLM) at its annual meeting October 5 in Chicago.
The award, presented each year to one who has made a significant contribution to the art and science of logistics management, is the highest honor for achievements in logistics, according to the CLM. The presentation coincides with the recent announcement of a new MIT program in logistics, initiated by Professor Sheffi, which will admit its first master's degree students in September 1998.
"The CLM award is a special honor because it represents both industry and academe. I am grateful to the staff at the MIT Center for Transportation Studies and to my students," said Professor Sheffi.
"This year's winner represents a unique combination of contributions ranging from science to engineering and management, from theory to practice, and from developing processes for large corporations to entrepreneurial activities. He has proven that industry experience can make one a better researcher and teacher while a strong theoretical background can make one a better practitioner," said award presenter Larry Sur, president of Schneider Logistics.
Professor Sheffi has developed two successful companies -- LogiCorp, a contract logistics firm, and PTCG, a transportation software company -- while also authoring numerous scientific publications in operations research, carrier operations and planning, logistics management and network theory.
His scientific contributions include innovative decision support systems for carrier operations and the development of logistics concepts and processes now used by leading shippers in the US, Europe and Japan. Meanwhile, under his leadership, the MIT Center for Transportation Studies has more than doubled the number of its students, increased research volume by an order of magnitude and tripled the number of its corporate affiliates.
The CLM Distinguished Service Award was established in 1965 by the Drake Sheahan Division of Main Hurdman in honor of one of its founding partners. Previous recipients include James Heskett, professor of business logistics at Harvard University (1974); Robert Packwood, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, (1984); and Frederick Smith, chief executive officer and chairman of Federal Express (1989).
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 8, 1997.