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Phebe Vayanos

Andrew and Erna Viterbi Early Career Chair and Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and Computer Science


  • 2013, Doctoral Degree, Computing (Operations Research), Imperial College
  • 2007, Master's Degree, Electrical Engineering, Imperial College


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.

Research Summary

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.

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.


  • 2022 University of Southern California USC Viterbi Junior Research Award
  • 2021 National Science Foundation CAREER award
  • 2020 INFORMS, Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences INFORMS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ambassador Program Award
  • Daniel J Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • OHE 310L
  • Olin Hall of Engineering
  • 3650 McClintock Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90089
  • USC Mail Code: 0193
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