LIDS Director John Tsitsiklis Receives 2017 Saul Gass Expository Writing Award

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John Tsitsiklis (right) with award presenter Noah Gans

December 15, 2017


Congratulations to LIDS Director John Tsitsiklis, winner of the 2017 Saul Gass Expository Writing Award!

The accomplishments and contributions for which John received this award were detailed in OR/MS Today, the INFORMS member magazine, which included an article about the award presentation in its December 2017 issue:

John Tsitsiklis, the Clarence J. Lebel Professor with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT and director of MIT’s Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, was named the 2017 recipient of the Saul Gass Expository Writing Award. Committee Chair Noah Gans made the presentation at the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston.

Named in honor of Saul Gass, an O.R. pioneer and an extraordinary and prolific writer, the prize recognizes an operations research/management scientist whose publications demonstrate a consistently high standard of expository writing.

The citation read in part:

“Professor Tsitsiklis has made fundamental contributions to optimization, dynamic programming, decentralized control of systems and statistical learning. The influence of research — such as his 1993 work on decentralized detection and his 1994 paper, “Efficient Algorithms for Globally Optimal Trajectories” — reflect the clarity of his thinking as expressed in writing.”

The excellence of Professor Tsitsiklis’ writing extends to the pedagogical.

The lucidity and elegance of textbooks, such as “introduction to Probability” (with Dimitri Bertsekas) and “Introduction to Linear Optimization” (with Dimitris Bertsimas) have helped a generation of students develop their intuition for underlying concepts in probability theory and in optimization.

While it can be difficult — and should be difficult — to distinguish good writing from clear thinking, Professor Tsitsiklis understands that excellence in technical writing, as a craft, is essential to the communication of important ideas. His note, "A Few Tips on Writing Papers with Mathematical Content," provides succinct yet highly valuable guidance to any researcher who seeks to communicate his or her ideas to a broad audience.

To learn more about the Saul Gass Expository Writing Award please visit: