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2022 Edelman Award for the development of response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic

Savings of over 200 million dollars, more than 65 thousand infections avoided and at least 2,800 deaths that did not occur. This is part of the impact of the applications developed by four academics from our department, Marcel Goic, Marcelo Olivares, Denis Sauré and Charles Thraves, researchers at the Complex Engineering Systems Institute (ISCI), in collaboration with the Ministries of Science and Health, and Entel. These solutions, essential to face the health crisis caused by COVID-19, were distinguished with the INFORMS Edelman Award 2022, an instance that rewards the best applied engineering intervention in the world and that this year also had among its finalists Alibaba, US Census Bureau, General Motors, Janssen and Merck.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), the largest data and decision science association, awarded the “Government of Chile” project the 2022 Franz Edelman Award for its achievements in advanced analytics, operational research and management science to improve the country’s response to the pandemic.

“We are very pleased to receive this prestigious award. It shows us how teamwork -collaboration between academia, the private sector and the public sector- is essential to address crises such as the pandemic. It also installs science as a key pillar to support public policy decisions. This is something that we have been working on for years in Industrial Engineering and this award shows us that we are in the big leagues in terms of data analytics and operations management”, highlights Marcelo Olivares.

The award ceremony was held on April 4 in Houston, Texas, United States, and was attended by a large Chilean delegation made up of representatives of the different institutions responsible for these fundamental analytical tools to face the health crisis in the country, including researchers of the U. de Chile, among them, our academics.

A platform to monitor population mobility during quarantines (Marcelo Olivares, Marcel Goic and our former student, Gabriel Weintraub), a system to optimize the active search for asymptomatic cases in critical areas (Denis Sauré and Charles Thraves), a program to monitor the antibody response to the different vaccines against COVID-19 (Denis Sauré) and a methodology to guide the allocation of patients between hospitals at the national level (Marcel Goic). These are the innovative solutions developed by the team made up of academics from our department, researchers from the Complex Engineering Systems Institute (ISCI) and the University of Chile, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation , and Entel Ocean, recognized with the 2022 Edelman Award.

“This is a recognition of many people, including several of our students who put in rigor, talent and tireless effort during the most critical periods of the pandemic. Personally, I think that these recognitions serve precisely to show students that, even from this distant strip of land, top-level engineering can be done and that it can help us build a better common life”, Marcel Goic contextualizes.

Best Applied Work in IO
This is the second time our department has won the Edelman Award. In 1998 he received this award for a system optimization model developed by Rafael Epstein and Andrés Weintraub for Bosques Arauco S.A. In the years 2011 and 2016, meanwhile, we were finalists. In 2011, with the optimization of containers carried out for the Compañía Sudamericana de Vapores (CSVA) and in 2016, with the scheduling of the professional soccer championship.

“This is the culmination of a two-year effort that involved both researchers and multiple graduate students from the department, as well as hundreds of collaborators in both industry and the public sector. Truly a monumental piece of work, worthy of the highest distinction in operations research”, concludes Denis Sauré.

Charles Thraves, our fourth award-winning scholar, adds: “It is with tremendous joy, pride and gratitude that we receive the award for the hundreds of people who have contributed to this.”


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) advances the science and technology of decision-making to save lives, save money, and solve problems. As the largest data and decision sciences association, its members support organizations and governments at all levels as they work to transform data into information, and information into more efficient, effective and impactful results. Its more than 10,000 associates are part of a diverse and strong international community of professionals, researchers, educators, and students from a variety of fields.

Congratulations to the team of researchers, especially to our academics! Also for our undergraduate student and Master in Operations Management (MGO), Ignasi Neira; our former students, Gabriel Weintraub and Pablo Galaz, as well as the dissertators and dissertators who made this recognition possible.