Phebe Vayanos

WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Computer Science

Associate Director, CAIS Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society

Viterbi School of Engineering

University of Southern California

I am a WiSE Gabilan Assistant Professor, an Assistant Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and an Associate Director of the CAIS Center for Artificial Intelligence in Society. Prior to joining USC, I was a lecturer in the Operations Research and Statistics Group at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and a postdoctoral research associate in the Operations Research Center at MIT. I hold a PhD degree in Operations Research and an MEng degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, both from Imperial College London.

Through my research, I aim to advance integer, stochastic, and robust optimization, and their interface with machine learning, causal inference, and economics to enable the design of predictive and prescriptive models that are robust, interpretable, and fair, being suitable to deploy in high-stakes settings. I aim to directly apply the methods and tools I create in my work to make a positive impact on society, and in particular to support underserved and marginalized communities.

I am a recipient of the NSF CAREER award and the USC Viterbi Junior Research Award and, jointly with my students, earned the INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador Program Award. My students have earned prestigious awards, including the NSF GRFP and the USC Discovery Scholar Prize.

Since 2019, I am serving as a member of the ad hoc INFORMS AI Strategy Advisory Committee. I am an elected member of the Committee on Stochastic Programming (COSP), the governing body of the Stochastic Programming Society. I am also the VP of Communications for the Section on Public Sector OR (PSOR) at INFORMS. I am an Associate Editor for Computational Management Science and for Operations Research Letters.

My research is supported by the National Science Foundation, by the Hilton Foundation, by the Home for Good Foundation, by the Homeless Policy Research Institute, by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Army Research Office, by Schmidt Futures, by the METRANS Transportation Center, and by the Zumberge Diversity & Inclusion Grant Program at USC, among others.

My Google Scholar profile can be viewed here.

Contact Information:


Office: Olin Hall of Engineering (OHE) 310L, University Park Campus, USC

Research Interests:

Operations Research & Artificial Intelligence:

  • Robust Optimization, Integer Optimization, and Stochastic Programming and their interface with Machine Learning, Causal Inference, and Economics

  • Predictive and Prescriptive Analytics for High-Stakes Domains

  • Robustness, Interpretability, and Fairness in Machine Learning and Resource Allocation


  • Public Policy (housing and organ allocation)

  • Public Health (suicide and substance use prevention)

  • Biodiversity Conservation

Prospective Students:

I am always looking for motivated Undergraduate, Master's, and PhD students that are interested in both theory and applications. If you are interested in becoming a student, please apply here. You can also send me an email to let me know why you are interested in joining my research group.