Onno Boxma wins David Blackwell Prize 2023

October 24, 2023

Emeritus professor Boxma distinguished for his scientific innovation, depth, significance and impact in the field of Applied Probabilty.

right: Onno Boxma, left Peter Glynn (president INFORMS APS society)

Onno Boxma, emeritus professor of Stochastic Operations Research in the department of Mathematics and Computer Science, has been named winner of the 2023 APS David Blackwell Prize. The prize was presented to him at the 2023 INFORMS Annual Meeting, which took place from October 15 to 18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

The prize is awarded annually to an individual for fundamental and sustained career contributions within the area of Applied Probability. The award is intended to recognize a lifetime career of theoretical and/or applications-driven scholarship within Applied Probability that has had a significant impact on operations research and the management sciences.

emeritus professor Onno Boxma

Boxma was given the honor, as he has been a central figure globally in the Applied Probability community for many years and has been pivotal in firmly establishing queuing theory as a valuable domain of research within Applied Probability and tool for decision making within Operations Research. 

The international commitee recognized Onno's years of effort, and formulated in the following way why exactly Boxma was awarded the prize: 

"Over the course of his career, Professor Boxma has established himself as a global leader within the Applied Probability community, who has made seminal contributions to queueing theory. In particular, his research on analytic methods in queueing theory, polling systems and conservation laws, heavy-tailed stochastic systems, and the analysis of queues and risk models fed by Levy processes all comprise deep and influential work that has had profound impact on the field. Specifically, his monograph on boundary value analysis of queueing systems, co-authored with J.W. Cohen, remains a fundamental reference on this powerful approach, and includes a beautiful non-product characterization of the stationary distribution of an important coupled processor model. In the late eighties, he was the first to establish crucial work decomposition properties and pseudo-conservation laws for multi-class queueing systems and so-called polling systems in particular. The ideas developed within this body of work were later generalized to polyhedral characterizations of the achievable performance for multi-class queueing systems, and they continue to find application today in areas as diverse as wireless random-access communication networks and smart transportation systems.

Within the domain of heavy-tailed queues, Professor Boxma brought classical Tauberian theorems to bear on this application area, as well as more probabilistic sample path methods, in developing deep insights into the interplay between tail behavior and scheduling. His more recent research has focused on the interface between queueing, risk theory, Markov additive processes, and Levy processes, and has led, for example, to novel identities for a class of two-dimensional reflected Levy processes, which appear new (and promising) even in the special case of reflected Brownian motion. 

Onno Boxma has further made many leadership contributions to the field. His role in training an entire generation of graduate students, many of whom are now established professors and have branched out in multiple directions, places him squarely as the "founding father" of the Dutch Queueing Theory school. He also has been of great service to the international community, as a founder and director of EURANDOM, as Editor-in-Chief of Queueing Systems, and as an organizer of many of the key conferences that have served a critical role within the community."

This life-time achievement award is a wonderful addition to Boxma’s long list of decorations. 

Anke Langelaan
(Communication Officer)

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