Lavanya Marla
Associate Professor (with tenure) 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

Lavanya invited to present paper from the IISE Outstanding Innovation in Service Systems Engineering award at the IISE Webinar.
October 2023

Paper “Impact of Aviation Electrification on Airports: Flight Scheduling and Charging”, with Boya Hou, Shubhonmesh Bose and Kiruba Haran accepted to IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.
September 2023

Delighted that Xiyitao Zhu is recognized as a Ken Wang scholar 2023 by AGIFORS!
August 2023

Excited to speak in a panel discussion on “Opportunities at the AI/OR interface”, at IFORS 2023, along with Profs. David Shmoys, Michael Fu, Ahmed Abbasi; invited and moderated by Prof. Laura Albert. Wide variety of questions from the audience and a lively discussion followed.
July 2023

Honored to be awarded 3rd prize in the 2023 IISE/SSE Outstanding Innovation in Service Systems Engineering award, for our work on personalized airline ancillary pricing. Congratulations to Naman Shukla, Akhil Gupta, Kartik Yellepeddi and Arinbjorn Kolbeinsson!
May 2023

Excited to receive funding from the JUMP-ARCHES program for our proposal “STREAM-ED: Simulation to Refine, Enhance, and Adapt Management of Emergency Departments”. Looking forward to our collaboration with Hyojung Kang, William Bond, Lisa T. Barker and Jonathan A. Handler!
May 2023

Enjoyed listening to the talks and speaking at the workshop on Bridging Learning and Algorithmic Fairness in the Operation of Urban Infrastructure and Network Systems, at CPS-IoT Week.
May 2023

Delighted to be a finalist for the 2023 IISE/SSE Outstanding Innovation in Service Systems Engineering award, for our work on personalized airline ancillary pricing!
April 2023

Excited to be giving the CAS lunch talk on March 22, “Next-generation Emergency Medical Service Design through Drone-Bystander-Ambulance Coordination“.
March 2023

Paper “Sensing in Airspace for Sequential O-D Network Routing” with Jing Gao and Ankur Mani accepted to Bridging Learning and Algorithmic Fairness in the Operation of Urban Infrastructure and Network Systems workshop.
March 2023

Paper “Derivation of a Unique Algorithm-based Approach to Cancer Patient Navigator Workload Management” with Xiyitao Zhu, Peng Zhang, Hyojung Kang, Marlene Granda, Rebecca Ebert-Allen, Sarah de Ramirez, Tenille Oderwald, Mackenzie McGee and Jonathan Handler accepted to Journal of Clinical Oncology: Clinical Cancer Informatics.
March 2023

Honored to be elected the Secretary/Treasurer of the INFORMS Transportation Science and Logistics Society (TSL)!
October 2022

Lavanya quoted in Hannah Sampson’s article in the Washington Post. Our paper on proactive disruption management, with Jane Lee and Alex Jacquillat is cited. Thanks Hannah!
August 2022

Lavanya receives tenure at the University of Illinois!
July 2022

Paper “A Unified Maximum Entropy Principle Approach for a Large Class of Routing Problems”, with Mayank Baranwal, Vasu Salapaka and Carolyn Beck, accepted to Computers and Industrial Engineering.
June 2022

Lavanya to receive tenure at the University of Illinois, pending Board of Trustees approval.
May 2022

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

Lavanya nominated and selected to serve on the INFORMS NSF Liaison Committee, a Governance (Marketing, Communications and Outreach) committee of INFORMS from Jan 2022-Dec 2023.
January 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