Lehigh Valley

Lehigh students win international award for state prison system project

HOUSTON - A group of Lehigh University students who developed an approach to help the Pennsylvania prison system have won an international award.

Led by Lehigh professor Tamas Terlaky, the students developed optimization formulas and a computer program to streamline the inmate assignment process.

The Inmate Assignment Decision Support System (IADSS) does in seconds a job that previously took seven people one week to do. The group is the first to provide such an approach to the prison system.

The project took five years to complete and successfully implement, but the students' efforts have been recognized with a prestigious prize.

The team has won the 2017 Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice, an international award presented by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). The winners were announced Monday and the award was presented at the INFORMS annual conference in Houston Tuesday.

The students and instructor were also honored earlier this month by Pennsylvania Sen. Lisa Boscola and Rep. Steve Samuelson.

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