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

Muck Rack 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

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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

2024 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 and earlier

(20 May 2024, The Closing Bell, WLS-890 Chicago, IL, Bret Gogoel) “Hospital Cyberattacks, the Grandma McFlurry, and the Cost of Traveling” speaks with Jacobson on the new Department of Transportation automatic refund policy for air tickets, based on his op-ed in the Chicago Tribune (available 24:00 to 30:28).

(20 May 2024, CNBC, Todd Wasserman) “With JP Morgan, Mastercard on board in biometric ‘breakthrough’ year, you may soon start paying with your face” quotes Jacobson on the evolution of facial recognition into retail and issues related to privacy.

(19 March 2024, ESPN, Ryan Hockensmith) “How one fan came close to a perfect March Madness bracket” references strategies from the bracketodds web site and quotes Jacobson on upsets in the tournament.

(18 March 2024, Associated Press, Mark Anderson) “Bettors counting on upsets as they put money on long shots this March Madness” references the bracketodds web site and quotes Jacobson on how the Selection Committee seeded teams.

(18 March 2024, Washington Post, Neil Greenberg) “10 March Madness tips from a certified bracket master” references strategies from the bracketodds web site and quotes Jacobson on how to sensibly fill out your bracket.

(13 March 2024, National Geographic, Ronan O’Connell) “PreCheck, Global Entry, CLEAR: We explain U.S. expedited travel programs” quotes Jacobson on the benefits associated with TSA PreCheck.

(12 March 2024, Consumer Affairs, Kristen Dalli) “TSA is testing out a self-service screening system at Las Vegas.” quotes Jacobson on the new airport screening system being launched at Las Vegas Harry Reid International airport.

(13 December 2023, CBS Philadelphia, Alexandra Simon and Liz Crawford) “TSA sets record for most guns confiscated at Philadelphia International Airport in year” provides commentary from Jacobson on the risks associated with firearms being brought to airport security checkpoints.

(16 November 2023, CBS (News) Money Watch, Megan Cerullo) “Flights in 2023 are cheaper than last year.  Here’s how to get the best deals” quotes Jacobson on how to find the best airfares for holiday travel.

(30 October 2023, WGN Radio 720, John Williams) “U of I professor explains why we should stop changing clocks twice a year” features Jacobson as a guest discussing a simple solution to changing the clocks twice each year.

29 October 2023, Voice of America, Dora Mekouar) “How old is too old to lead?” quotes Jacobson on the risks associated with older elected officials.

(4 July 2023, CNN Business, Jon Sarlin) “When will the US lift the liquid ban in airports?” interviews Jacobson on when the TSA liquid ban will be relaxed.

(14 June 2023, New York Post, Thomas Barrabi) “’AI ‘deepfakes’ poised to wreak havoc on 2024 presidential election: experts” quotes Jacobson on the use of generative AI in the leadup to the 2024 presidential election. 

(12 June 2023, USA Today Network, Douglas Soule) “’Wild West’ of AI campaign warfare: DeSantis launches attack ad with fake Fauci images” quotes Jacobson on the use of generative AI in election ads. 


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: 28 May 2024

First Posted: 25 June 1999


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