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Systems expert named as holder of USC Viterbi endowed chair

USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, USC Trustee Daniel J. Epstein, Epstein Family Chair holder Jong-Shi Pang and USC President C. L. Max Nikias (USC Photo/Steve Cohn)

USC Viterbi School of Engineering Professor Jong-Shi Pang, a leading expert in the modeling and optimization of multi-agent systems operating under equilibrium constraints, has been appointed as holder of the Epstein Family Chair in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

“Endowed chairs are the most tangible means to attract, honor and retain top-level, globally prominent faculty. They provide invaluable financial support for use in research and other academic endeavors that help elevate the department, the school and the university,” USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos said at the Nov. 12 installation ceremony.

“Jong-Shi is surely to have a transformative effect as his work finds direct applications to economics, game theory and more generally, the social sciences,” he added. “His body of seminal and influential work and undisputed, world-leading stature will help elevate the stature of the Epstein Department and the Viterbi School as well as of USC overall.

USC Viterbi received the endowment gift from USC Trustee Daniel J. Epstein ’62 and his family. Epstein, namesake of the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, graduated with honors in industrial and systems engineering.

Epstein, chairman and CEO of The ConAm Group, one of the nation’s largest real estate and property management companies, is a member of the USC Viterbi Board of Councilors. The Epstein Department was the first named department in the school and one of the first of its kind in the nation.

His gift has been translated into three components: two chairs, the Daniel J. Epstein Chair and the Epstein Family chair, and an institute, the Daniel J. Epstein Institute.

“The mark of a true philanthropist rests not only in building lives of opportunity, but in building fields of knowledge,” USC President C. L. Max Nikias said. “In that light, Dan is not only concerned with the future of students, but the future of industrial and systems engineering.”

Pang’s general area of research is optimization in systems with multiple competing players. Over the years, he has made fundamental contributions to mathematical programming and algorithmic theories for linear and nonlinear problems. He is known for several seminal contributions that have shaped the field of operations research and for their translation to practical applications.

He is one of only eight researchers to have ever received both the Lanchester Prize, awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences, and the Dantzig Prize, awarded jointly by the Mathematical Programming Society and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

Pang, who earned his PhD in operations research from Stanford University, comes to USC Viterbi from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he served as the first head of the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering and helped build that department. Prior to that, Pang spent more than a quarter century at Johns Hopkins University.

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Systems expert named as holder of USC Viterbi endowed chair

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