Lavanya Marla
Assistant Professor, Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Google Scholar, Department page
lavanyam [at] illinois [dot] edu
Ph: +1 217-300-5892



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Transportation Systems, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Master of Science (S.M.), Transportation and Operations Research (dual degrees), MIT
Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.), Major: Civil Engineering, Minor: Industrial Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Research Interests

  • Methodological areas: Decision-making under uncertainty in large-scale networks; robust network design and operations; data-driven statistical modeling and optimization; game theory; machine learning
  • Application areas: air transportation systems, emergency medical systems, logistics (routing and scheduling, last-mile transportation), shared transportation systems

Research Goals

My research aims at the development of tools and methods that effectively combine large-scale optimization, data mining, statistics, simulation and computational techniques to build logistics and transportation systems that are operationally flexible and dynamically adaptable to improve cost, efficiency, robustness and environmental impact. I focus on settings in both developed and emerging economies, in which this vision poses different challenges because of differences in the sheer size of the systems, varying levels of competition between multiple stakeholders and the presence of significant uncertainty. Applications that my research has evolved to encompass include: (a) aviation, (b) transportation logistics and (c) emergency medical systems. My research style involves: (i) analyzing large-scale real-world data from operators and users to identify high-impact opportunities, (ii) developing quantitative data-driven models and algorithms to address them, and (iii) evaluating impact by testing on realistic simulation test-beds.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among students in my research group, in my teaching, within the ISE Department, at UIUC, as well as in my broader research community.

  • Diversity: I am cognizant of the fact that diversity strengthens us culturally, intellectually, and as a society.
  • Equity: I will work for equal treatment of all people, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other attributes that are not related to academic and research potential.
  • Inclusion: I will strive to create an inclusive working environment so that everyone’s voices are heard and their contributions  recognized.

Lavanya explains her EMS research

First Practice-based Workshop on EMS in India is here. We thank the generosity of the US-India Educational Foundation’s 21st Century Knowledge Initiative.

Recent News

Paper “Airline OR Innovations Soar During COVID-19 Recovery”, with Laurie Garrow and Virginie Lurkin, accepted to Operations Research Forum.
February 2022

Lavanya is invited to speak at Vanderbilt University’s CEE Seminar. Topic of talk: “The Role of Predictions in Optimizing Airline Disruption Management: how Good is Good Enough?”
February 2022

Paper “Estimating Economic Losses from Cyber-attacks on Shipping Ports: An Optimization-based Approach”, with Gabriel Weaver, Brett Feddersen, Dan Wei, Adam Rose and Mark van Moer, accepted to Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies.
October 2021

Lavanya chairs the AGIFORS Annual Symposium. Check out the exciting agenda, with a significant focus on COVID-19 recovery, here!
September 2021

Paper “Short and Wide Network Paths”, with Profs. Lav Varshney and Devavrat Shah, and UIUC undergraduates Nirmal Prakash and Michael Gale, accepted to IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering. Congratulations to Nirmal and Michael on their first paper!
September 2021

Lavanya’s paper on the impacts of climate change on aviation operations, with student Jane Lee and collaborator Parth Vaishnav, featured by U of I News Bureau.
September 2021

Paper “Galactic Air improves airline ancillary revenues with dynamic personalized pricing” accepted to the INFORMS Journal on Applied Analytics (formerly Interfaces). Congratulations to co-authors Arinbjorn, Naman, Akhil and Kartik!
July 2021

Paper “Dynamics of Disruption and Recovery in Air Transportation Networks” with Max, Karthik, Hamsa, and UIUC undergrads Sang, Darsh and Aritro, accepted to the CEAS Aeronautical Journal [DOI]. This paper was also awarded the Best Paper Award in the System Performance track at ICRAT 2020.
May 2021

Paper “The Impact of Climate Change on the Recoverability of Airline Networks”, accepted to Transportation Research  – Part D [SSRN Copy][DOI].
March 2021

Lavanya invited to talk at Georgia Tech ISyE seminar. Topic of talk: “Strategic Service Games with Customer-induced Competition”.
March 2021

ORMS Today, INFORMS’ bimonthly magazine, publishes Lavanya’s article on aviation during and beyond COVID-19.
February 2021

Lavanya awarded the prestigious CAS Fellowship from the University of Illinois, approved by the Board of Trustees at the January 2021 meeting!
January 2021

Lavanya invited to serve on the Senior Advisory Board of AGIFORS, the international aviation OR society.
January 2021

Paper “PenDer: Incorporating Shape Constraints via Penalized Derivatives” is accepted to AAAI 2021. Congratulations to Akhil, Ruoyu, Naman and Aninbjorn!
December 2020

Paper “Dynamics of Disruption and Recovery in Air Transportation Networks” wins Best Paper Award in the System Performance track at ICRAT 2020. Three UIUC undergrads are co-authors. Congratulations Max, Karthik, Hamsa, and UIUC undergrads Sang, Darsh and Aritro!
August 2020

Jane Lee deposits her dissertation “New Approaches to Airline Recovery Problems”. Congratulations Jane!
July 2020

Paper “Managing EMS Systems with User Abandonment in Emerging Economies” accepted to IISE Transactions.
July 2020

U of I News Bureau features Lavanya’s work joint with student Jane Lee and collaborator Alexandre Jacquillat: “Recovery from airline delays works best with future disruptions in mind“.
June 2020

Paper “Dynamic Airline Disruption Management under Airport Operating Uncertainty” published in Transportation Science: Articles in Advance [DOI]. Congratulations to Jane for her first paper!
June 2020

JUMP Arches grant for “Supply-driven Hospital Resource Planning and Community Engagement for COVID-19 Treatment” awarded to Lavanya and Prof. Qiong Wang.
May 2020