Phebe Vayanos

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 Assistant Professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and 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.

My research is focused on optimization, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, in particular on algorithmic fairness, interpretability, and robustness. My mission is to design systems that drive efficient decision-making while addressing bias and inequality, to tackle problems such as homelessness, substance use, suicide prevention, and organ allocation. My work strives to better assist underserved and marginalized communities in these areas by giving them an active role in the design of the AI systems that affect them.

In 2019, I served 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. Since 2020, I am an Associate Editor of Computational Management Science. Starting April 2021, I will be an Associate Editor for Operations Research Letters.

My research is supported by the NSF, 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.

I am a recipient of the INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador Program Award.

My Google Scholar profile can be viewed here.

Contact Information:

Email: phebe.vayanos@usc.edu

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

Research Interests:

Artificial Intelligence and Operations Research: Robust AI; Robust Optimization; Fairness, Efficiency, Transparency in Machine Learning and Resource Allocation; Data-Driven Optimization; Prescriptive Analytics; Decision-Making under Uncertainty; Game Theory; Applications in: Public Policy (housing and organ allocation), Public Health (suicide prevention, substance abuse prevention), Public Safety and Security, Biodiversity Preservation, etc.

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.