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John N. Tsitsiklis

Clarence J. Lebel Professor of Electrical Engineering, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

MIT, BSc, Electrical Engineering, 1980
MIT, BSc, Mathematics, 1980
MIT, MSc, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1981
MIT, PhD, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 1984.

Biographical Overview

Professor Tsitsiklis began his studies at MIT in 1976, and completed his PhD in Electrical Engineering in 1984. His thesis focused on the subject of decentralized decision-making and distributed computation, under the supervision of Michael Athans.

After serving as an acting assistant professor of
electrical engineering at Stanford University (1983-1984), he returned to MIT in 1984 and has since then been affiliated with LIDS. He has served as a director of the Operations Research Center, and is currently an associate director of LIDS.

Professor Tsitsiklis is the coauthor of over one hundred journal papers in the areas of systems, optimization, control, and operations research, and a number of books, including Introduction to Probability, with Dimitri Bertsekas. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and of INFORMS. In 2007, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and in 2008, he was conferred the title of Doctor honoris causa, from the Universite Catholique de Louvain (Belgium).

Research Areas

  • Analysis, Optimization, and Control of Stochastic Systems
  • Network Resource Allocation
  • Decentralized Detection and Data Fusion
  • Learning

Selected Publications

Introduction to Probability, Athena Scientific, 2002; 2nd edition, 2008 (with Dimitri Bertsekas).

Introduction to Linear Optimization, Athena Scientific, 1997 with Dimitris Bertsimas).

Neuro-dynamic Programming, Athena Scientific, 1996 (with Dimitri Bertsekas).

Parallel and Distributed Computation: Numerical Methods, Prentice-Hall, 1989 (with Dimitri Bertsekas); republished in 1997 by Athena Scientific.

J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Decentralized Detection,” Advances in Signal Processing, Vol. 2, H. V. Poor and J.B. Thomas, editors, JAI Press, 1993, pp. 297-344.

J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Efficient Algorithms for Globally Optimal Trajectories,” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 40, No. 9, Sept. 1995, pp. 1528-1538.

J.N. Tsitsiklis and B. Van Roy, “An Analysis of Temporal-Difference Learning with Function Approximation,” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 42, No. 5, May 1997, pp. 674-690.

V.D. Blondel and J.N. Tsitsiklis, “A Survey of Computational Complexity Results in Systems and Control,” Automatica, Vol. 36, No. 9, pp. 1249-1274, Sept. 2000.

R. Johari and J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Efficiency Loss in a Network Resource Allocation Game,” Mathematics of Operations Research, Vol. 29, No. 3, Aug. 2004, pp. 407-435.

A. Muharremoglu and J.N. Tsitsiklis, “A Single-Unit Decomposition Approach to Multi-Echelon Inventory Systems,” Operations Research, Vol. 56, No. 5, Sept.-Oct. 2008, pp. 1089-1103.

J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Linear Optimization Problems with Dynamical Structure,” BSc Thesis, Department of EECS, MIT, January 1980.

J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Optimal Dynamic Routing in an Unreliable Manufacturing System,” MSc Thesis, Department of EECS, MIT, February 1981; technical report LIDS-TH-1069, Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, MIT.

J.N. Tsitsiklis, “Problems in Decentralized Decision Making and Computation,” PhD Thesis, Department of EECS, MIT, November 1984; technical report LIDS-TH-1424, Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, MIT.

Recent Educational Activities

6.041: Probabilistic Systems Analysis
6.986: Fundamentals of Network Science and Engineering
6.436J/15.085J: Fundamentals of Probability
6.262: Discrete Stochastic Processes

Awards and Grants


IBM Faculty Development Award 1983

NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award 1986

Outstanding Paper Award by the IEEE Control Systems Society 1986 for J.N. Tsitsiklis and M. Athans, “On the Complexity of Decentralized Decision Making and Detection Problems,” IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, Vol. 30, No.5, 1985, pp. 440-446.

MIT Edgerton Faculty Achievement Award; given to junior faculty members at MIT in recognition of exceptional distinction in teaching, research, and scholarship 1989

Bodossaki Foundation Prize, in the field of Sciences of Information Processing Systems & Methods; given to scientists of Greek descent under the age of 40 1994

INFORMS Computer Science Technical Section Prize with D. Bertsekas, for their book Neuro-Dynamic Programming and the research behind it. 1997

Fellow of INFORMS 2007

National Academy of Engineering for “contributions to the theory and application of optimization in dynamic and distributed systems.” 2007

Doctor honoris causa, Universite Catholique de Louvain, Belgium 2008

John N. Tsitsiklis

77 Massachusetts Ave.,
Cambridge, MA 02139
617-253-6175 ph