Sheldon H. Jacobson Ph.D.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign






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.



In the News

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

(1 August 2022, WLS-AM 890, The Chris Plante Show, Chicago, IL) Jacobson was a guest discussing “Shrinkflation” and its impact on consumers, based on his recent commentary in the Chicago Tribune.

(1 August 2022, Steve Cochran on the Big 89) Jacobson was a guest discussing “Shrinkflation” and its impact on consumers, based on his recent commentary in the Chicago Tribune.

(1 August 2022, Money Life with Chuck Jaffe) Jacobson was a guest discussing “Shrinkflation” and its impact on consumers, based on his recent commentary in the Chicago Tribune.

(26 July 2022, CBS DFW, JD Miles) “Shooting at Dallas Love Field Airport raises more security questions.” provides commentary by Jacobson on airport security.

(20 July 2020, WOWO 1190AM Morning News with Kayla Blakeslee, Fort Wayne, IN) “Flight delays and cancellations mot going away.” interviews Jacobson on flight delays and cancellations.

(12 July 2022, WLS-AM 890, The John Howell Show, Chicago, IL) Jacobson was a guest discussing summer flight delays and cancellations, based on his recent commentary in the Chicago Tribune.

(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.

(11 July 2022, Lucy Ann Lance Show, WLBY 1290, Ann Arbor, MI) Jacobson is interviewed on reducing gun violence using risk-based strategies.

(8 July 2022, Aerospace America, Paul Brinkman)Air taxi vertiport builders plan for minimal, automated security.” quotes Jacobson on security issues for air taxi’s in the future.

(16 June 2022, CBN News, Matt Galka) “2020 Census ‘Undercounts’ and ‘Overcounts’ Cound Determine if Democrats or Republicans Have Control of US House” quotes Jacobson on Census Bureau miscounts discussed in his Op-Ed in The Hill.

(8 June 2022, Audacy, Lauren Barry) “How law enforcement could be affected by gun reform bills.” quotes Jacobson on the impact of layers of policies 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.

(31 March 2022, The Bruce St. James Show, WLS Radio, Chicago, IL) Jacobson is a guest discussing aviation security and the recent perimeter security breach at Chicago Midway.

(16 March 2022, Wharton Moneyball Podcast) Jacobson was a guest (fourth segment) discussing the analytics of March Madness.

(16 March 2022, CBS Sports, Matt Norlander) “March Madness 2022 bracket: NCAA tournament numbers, vital stats to use when filling out your bracket” references data from the  Bracketodds web site.

(15 March 2022, Sports Illustrated, Molly Geary) “Five dark horse teams that could crash the Final Four” references data from the Bracketodds web site.

(15 March 2022, Associated Press, Eddie Pells) “Hoop-hype: March Madness brackets get American talking again.” quotes Jacobson on building brackets using analytics.

(28 February 2022, Time, Jamie Ducharme) “Why you should keep wearing a face mask onn planes – even if you no longer have to.” quotes Jacobson’s research on COVID-19 virus transmission risk on flights.

(15 February 2022, Sports Illustrated, Pat Forde) “Forde Minutes: Is this the year of the mid-major?” quotes Jacobson on his bracketodds research and the plethora of mid-majors that are poised to make the Tournament.

(23 December 2021, CNN, Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Brain Todd) “Health experts urge air travelers to take precautions to avoid omicron.” quotes Jacobson on air travel risk.

(21 December 2021, University of Illinois News Bureau) “Models predict optimal airplane seating for reduced viral transmission,” features research by J. Pavlik, I, Ludden, and Jacobson that describes how aerosol transmission on airplanes and the use of face masks impacts passenger risk on airplanes.  Their research was published in the Journal of Air Transport Management.

·        (27 December 2021, Health Day, Robert Preidt) “Science shows safest plane seating to cut COVID spread.” Also appeared in US News, UPI, Wisconsin State Journal, Richmond Times-Dispatch,  Northwest Indiana Times, Tulsa World, Roanoke Times, Kingsport Times News, Montana Standard, Casper Star Tribune, Lincoln Journal Star. St. Louis Post Dispatch, Arizona Daily Star, and many others.


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: 8 August 2022

First Posted: 25 June 1999


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