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

(3 January 2024, Air Traffic Technology International, Paul Willis) “Navigating AI’s role in Air Traffic Control” quotes Jacobson’s article that appeared in The Hill.

(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.

(6 November 2023, FOX 25, Katie Arata, Oklahoma City, OK) “Health impacts of daylight saving time sparks debate on it necessity” interviews Jacobson discussing a simple solution to changing the clocks twice each year.

(6 November 2023, 94.9 WNZF, Flagler, FL) “Is Biannual clock adjustments still necessary?” features Jacobson as a guest discussing a simple solution to changing the clocks twice each year.

(3 November 2023, 102.3 KMRG, Tulsa, OK) “A proposal to end daylight saving time permanently, with a half-hour time change” features Jacobson as a guest discussing a simple solution to changing the clocks twice each year.

(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.

(16 October 2023, Voice of America, Dora Mekouar) “America keeps getting fatter --- These are the heaviest states of all” quotes Jacobson on how the built environment may contribute to the obesity epidemic. See also Alaska Native News.

(15 September 2023, Free for all Friday with David Ayres and Brian McMillan, WNZ News Radio) Jacobson is a guest discussing “deep fakes” in elections and the impact of AI on society.

(12 September 2023, Need to Know with Jeff Angelo, IHeart Podcasts) Jacobson is a guest discussing the concerns over “deep fakes” in the next election.   

(5 September 2023, The 21st Show, Illinois Public Media) “How is AI Affecting Jobs in Illinois” featured Jacobson as a guest discussing the impact of AI on society.

(31 August 2023, WLS 890 AM, Chicago, IL, The Steve Cochran Show)Navigating tomorrow’s workplace: The advantages of returning to the office interviews Jacobson on the value of in-person work, based on his Chicago Tribune op-ed.

(22 August 2023, NBC Chicago 5) “Here’s when daylight saving time ends in the U.S., and when it will return” quotes Jacobson on alternatives to changing clocks twice per year. See also “Here’s when daylight savings time ends in Florida, and when it will return” (17 September 2023, NBC 6 South Florida).

(18 August 2023, Play USA, JR Duren) “Mega Millions and Powerball are harder than ever to win, Here’s why” quotes Jacobson on why lotteries are not a good way to make money.

(17 July 2023, The Other Side of Midnight with Frank Mirano, 77 WABC, New York, NY) Frank Morano interviews Jacobson on why buying a  lottery ticket when the jackpot is large is not a good idea.

(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.

(29 June 2023, Axios, Michael Mooney) “TSA protocols create security risks, experts say” quotes Jacobson on how people are at risk when terminals must be evacuated due to a security breach. 

(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. 

(10 June 2023, Associated Press, David Lieb) “’Analysis: What makes a fair election? Recent redistricting the most balanced in years” quotes Jacobson on the gerrymandered Illinois House map. 

(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.

(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.

(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.


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 January 2024

First Posted: 25 June 1999


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