Sheldon H. Jacobson Ph.D.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign




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Founder Professor in Computer Science

Director, Bed Time Research Institute

Director, Institute for Computational Redistricting

Director, Simulation and Optimization Laboratory
201 North Goodwin Avenue (MC-258)
University of Illinois

Urbana, Illinois 61801-2302

Telephone: (217) 244-7275

Fax: (217) 265-4035

Skype: sheldon.jacobson1


Twitter: @shjanalytics


Google Scholar Page

Scopus Page

Wikipedia Page

Recent CV

For the Media: Areas of Expertise

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-9042-8750


Primary and Affiliate Appointments:

Professor of Computer Science

Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Professor of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering

Professor of Mathematics (College of Liberal Arts and Science)

Professor of Statistics (College of Liberal Arts and Science)

Professor, Carle Illinois College of Medicine


Founding Director: Institute for Computational Redistricting (ICOR)

Founding Director: Bed Time Research Institute (BTRI)

Web Sites of Interest within the BTRI

1)       March Madness 2023... What are your bracket odds? Visit Bracketodds for help with your Men’s and Women’s brackets.

2)       What drives obesity? Visit Driving Obesity for the answer.

3)       Interested in ending gerrymandering?  Visit the Institute for Computational Redistricting (ICOR).


Career Summary


Information of Interest


Broader Impacts: How research supported by the National Science Foundation makes the world better for all.  Read the Workshop Report: Setting a Broader Impacts Innovation Roadmap.


Opinion Essays

In the News

2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 and earlier

(22 May 2023, The 21st Show, Illinois Public Media) “REAL ID requirements get further delayed” featured Jacobson as a guest discussing the REAL ID and ongoing delays in having the requirement enacted.

(10 May 2023, PIX-11, New York, NY, Henry Rosoff) “AI may be the future of preventing school shootings” interviewed Jacobson on the limitations of using AI to prevent shootings in schools.

(17 March 2023, Associated Press, Mark Anderson) “Analytics expert says portal hurting major programs” quotes Jacobson on the analytics of March Madness.

(15 March 2023, WLS 890 AM, Chicago, IL, The Steve Cochran Show)Want a bust-proof bracket? A University of Illinois professor uses computer science to master March Madness interviews Jacobson on March Madness and his bracketodds analytics in putting together a bracket.

(13 March 2023, Cleveland Plains Dealer, Marc Bona) “Not a basketball expert? Here’s how to approach NCAA Tournament bracket pick” features commentary by Jacobson on how to contruct a tournament bracket, based on his research reported on Bracketodds website.

(10 March 2023, NBC 5, Chicago Il, Lauren Petty) “We should ‘split the difference when it comes to time changes, professor says,” interviews Jacobson on his recent essay in The Hill on using a permanent 30 minute time change in the Spring.

(9 February 2023, USA Today, Josh Peter) “What are the odds of brothers meeting in the Super Bowl?  Not as high as you might think” quotes Jacobson’s statistics on this event occurring.

(7 January 2023, Travel Weekly, Andrea Zelinski) “Supply chain woes delay cruise ship debuts” quotes Jacobson on how supply chain challenges are impacting the cruise ship industry. 

(28 December 2022, WFTF-ABC, Tampa, FL, Mary O’Connell) “Experts explain what’s behind Southwest travel meltdown while sharing advice for stranded passengers” quotes Jacobson on Southwest Airlines flight cancellation problems.  See also “What’s behind the Southwest meltdown?” (KTEN-10 NBC, Dennison, TX, Tyger Allen).

(17 December 2022, New York Times, Eduardo Medina) ““Record number of guns confiscated at U.S. airports, TSA reports” quotes Jacobson on the possible causes and solutions to a record number of guns found at airport checkpoints.

(14 December 2022, WHO AM-1040, Des Moines, IA, Jeff Angelo) “Do we really need REAL ID?” has Jacobson as a guest discussing his recent op-ed in The Hill on the importance of REAL IDs.

(23 August 2022, Grid News, Anna Dean) “2022 could break the record for most guns found in airplane carry-ons: The U.S. airports with the highest rates.” quotes Jacobson on why the TSA is finding so many guns at airport security checkpoints.

(11 August 2022, Yahoo Finance, Brooke DiPalma) “Food package sizing is shrinking amid inflation”. Quotes Jacobson on how ‘Shrinkflation’ is achieved.  See also “How ‘shrinkflation’ and rising food prices is “just like a magic show’: Expert.”

(12 July 2022, Canadian Press, James McCarten) “Does airport preclearance offer a model to help U.S. prevent future mass shootings?” quotes Jacobson on how lessons learned from airport security may be helpful to reduce gun violence.

(7 June 2022, Vox Recode, Rani Molla) “What the TSA could teach Congress about gun control.” interviews Jacobson, discussing how risk-based decision-making can help reduce gun violence. 

(6 June 2022, Texas Tribune, Jolie McCullough & James Barragan) “Texas politicians search for solutions after another mass shooting.  Experts say we’ve already found them”quotes Jacobson on layered methods to reduce the risk of firearms killings.


Potential PhD Graduate Students

Research Opportunities in Operations Research

Secrets to Learn Before you Graduate

Prospective Graduate Students 


Visit the Media and Outreach Presentation


For a seminar on bracketology:

March Madness and Advanced Analytics: Improving Your Bracket Odds


Looking for a Ph.D. Advisor?

Zen and the Art of Hiring and Advising Graduate Students


Interested in Jacobson’s “TED-type” Talk slides?


Interested in supporting Jacobson’s research on policy, public health, societal issues, or bracketology? 

Visit Benefunder. 


Research Areas and Interests

Theory/AI Interface (Operations Research)

Advanced Analytics and Data Science (Big Data, Computational Public Health & Social Sciences, Health Informatics)

Industrial Engineering


Current Research Thrusts

Data-driven Causal Inference (BIG Data Analytics Using Discrete Optimization)

Security Screening (Data-driven Decision-making Under Uncertainty, Game Theory)

Algorithmic Political Districting (Graph Theory, Artificial Intelligence)

Branch and Bound Strategies for discrete optimization problems (Theory/Artificial Intelligence)

Bracketology Data Analytics (Sports Analytics)

Infectious Disease Screening and quarantining strategies (Decision-making Under Uncertainty)

Obesity, Energy, and Transportation (Public Health Data Analytics)

Mass Murder and Violence Trends in Society (Public Health Data Analytics)



Research (Peer Reviewed) Articles

Computer Simulation Methodology and Modeling

Discrete Optimization Algorithms (Exact and Approximation)

Stochastic Models, On-line Optimization, and Sequential Decision-Making

Aviation Security System Design and Analysis

Health Care Systems Engineering, Modeling, and Analysis

Immunization and Vaccine Economics

Transportation, Obesity, and Public Health

Causal Inference, Districting Problems, and Election Forecasting

Sports Analytics: NCAA Bracketology

Applications of Operations Research

Commentaries and Viewpoints


Other Publications

Book Chapters

Professional Magazines, Op-Eds, Letters

Conference Proceedings Papers


Professional Activities

Presentations, Seminars, and Posters

Sponsored Research

Dissertation, Theses, and Projects Directed

Awards, Honors, and Recognitions

Selected Media Coverage

Teaching and Service Activities


Jacobson's Web Site on the Computer Science Web Page

For more information, send a message to
He would be happy to hear from you.



Sheldon H. Jacobson, Ph.D.

201 North Goodwin Avenue (MC-258)
University of Illinois

Urbana, Illinois 61801-2302

Telephone: (217) 244-7275

Fax: (217) 244-6869

Skype: sheldon.jacobson1


Twitter: @shjanalytics  


Last Updated: 19 June 2023

First Posted: 25 June 1999


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