Ed Kaplan

Edward H. Kaplan is the William N. and Marie A. Beach Professor of Operations Research, Public Health, and Engineering at Yale University’s School of Management. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from McGill University in 1977 with First Class Honours, three Masters degrees from MIT (1979 in operations research, 1979 in city planning, and 1982 in mathematics), in addition to his MIT PhD in 1984. He joined the Yale faculty in 1987 following appointments at Harvard’s Kennedy School and the University of Massachusetts-Boston. An expert in operations research, mathematical modeling and statistics, Kaplan has co-authored 170 academic papers. He was elected to the United States National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) and is an Institute of Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Fellow. His research in HIV prevention and counterterrorism has been recognized with the Edelman Award, Lanchester Prize, Centers for Disease Control’s Charles C. Shepard Science Award, INFORMS President’s Award, Kimball Medal, the Philip McCord Morse Lectureship, three Koopman Prizes, and numerous other awards. Kaplan was the Lady Davis Visiting Professor of medicine and of statistics at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and also served as a visiting professor to the Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, the Survey Research Center at UC Berkeley, Columbia’s Graduate School of Business, MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In 2014, Kaplan was elected to the leadership of INFORMS (https://www.informs.org/); he served as President-Elect, President, and Past-President respectively in 2015-2017.

What do you do with data science?

I develop relatively simple probability models for pressing societal/policy problems. This sometimes requires models for how the available data were generated. Examples include estimating HIV incidence among drug injectors from the prevalence of HIV in needles, casualties from suicide bombings (and potential benefits from sensor detection) based on the underlying “physics” of such attacks, casualties in bioterror attacks (and how to prepare and respond), the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States, the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections averted via repeat testing, and the incidence of coronavirus from viral RNA concentrations in wastewater.