David D. Yao


302 S.W. Mudd
Mail Code 4704

Tel(212) 854-2934
Fax(212) 854-8103

David Yao studies the analysis, design and control of stochastic systems, such as computer and communication networks, production systems and supply chains, health care systems, and related resource control and risk management issues. A principal investigator of over 30 grants and contracts from government agencies and industrial sources, he has done extensive research and consulting work in various aspects of semiconductor fabrication, inventory and distribution planning, scheduling and resource management in computer operating systems, internet traffic modeling, web-server performance optimization, supply chain management, and hospital resource planning. He is a holder of eight U.S. patents in manufacturing operations and supply chain logistics.

Research Interests

Applied probability, stochastic systems and control, financial engineering, integrated production planning and risk hedging .

His most recent work has been in the following areas: Using stochastic networks to model the contagion dynamics in financial systems and to characterize measures of systemic risk; integrating risk-hedging strategies into production planning decisions so as to improve the risk-return tradeoff; identifying the main factors that impact the healthcare associated infection (HAI) using machine-learning and discrete-event simulation techniques.

Yao was a mathematics major at Fudan University in China in the late 1970’s, and received a PhD in industrial engineering from the University of Toronto in 1983. He is a fellow of the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, and a Member of the National Academy of Engineering.


  • PI over 30 grants and contracts from government agencies and industrial sources. Holder of eight U.S. patents.


  • Member, Board on Mathematical Sciences and Applications (BMSA), National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine (2016 - ).
  • Chair, Financial and Business Analytics Center, Data Science Institute, Columbia University (2012 - ).
  • Member of the INFORMS OR-Grand Challenges Task Force (2012-13) sponsored by NSF, with the charge to identify OR catalysts for NAE Grand Challenges.
  • Chair, INFORMS Lanchester Prize Committee (2012). Member, INFORMS Lanchester Prize Committee (2011-12).
  • Chair, INFORMS John von Neumann Theory Prize Committee (2003). Member, INFORMS John von Neumann Theory Prize Committee (2001-03).


  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Fellow)
  • Institute for Operations Research and Management Sciences (Fellow)


  • Markov Lecture, INFORMS Applied Probability Society, 2015.
  • Member, National Academy of Engineering, 2015.
  • Great Teacher Award, Society of Columbia Graduates, 2012.
  • Honorary Professor, Xi'an Jiao Tong University, China, 2010.
  • Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award, Columbia Engineering Alumni Association, 2009.
  • IBM Faculty Award, IBM Corporation, 2005.
  • SIAM Outstanding Paper Prize, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, 2003.
  • Franz Edelman Award (first prize), Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, 1999.
  • Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, IBM Research Division, 1999.
  • Research Division Award, IBM Research, 1996.
  • Guggenheim Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, 1991/92.
  • Presidential Young Investigator, National Science Foundation, 1987-92.
  • George E. Nicholson, Jr. Memorial Award, first prize; Operations Research Society of America, 1983.


  • Chen, H. and Yao, D.D., Fundamentals of Queueing Networks: Performance, Asymptotics and Optimization, Springer-Verlag, Applications of Mathematics, 46, 2001.
  • Glasserman, P. and Yao, D.D. Monotone Structure in Discrete-Event Systems, Wiley Inter-Science, Series in Probability and Mathematical Statistics, 1994.
  • Liao, W. and Yao, D.D., Production with Risk Hedging -- Optimal Policy and Efficient Frontier. Operations Research, forthcoming.
  • Ye, H. and Yao, D.D., Diffusion Limit of Fair Resource Control --- Stationarity and Interchange of Limits. Mathematics of Operations Research, 41 (2016), 1161-1207.
  • Chen, N., Liu, X. and Yao, D.D., An Optimization View of Financial Systemic Risk Modeling: Network Effect and Market Liquidity Effect. Operations Research, 64 (2016), 1089-1108.
  • Capponi, A., Chen, P.-C. and Yao, D.D., Liability Concentration and Losses in Financial Networks: Comparisons via Majorization. Operations Research, 64 (2016), 1121-1134.
  • Ye, H. and Yao, D.D., A Stochastic Network under Proportional Fair Resource Control - Diffusion Limit with Multiple Bottlenecks. Operations Research, 60 (2012), 716-738.
  • Ye, H. and Yao, D.D., Heavy-Traffic Optimality of a Stochastic Network under Utility-Maximizing Resource Control. Operations Research, 56 (2008), 453-470.
  • Yao, D.D., Zhang, S., and Zhou, X., Tracking a Financial Benchmark with a Few Assets. Operations Research, 54 (2006), 232-246.
  • Yao, D.D., Zhang, S., and Zhou, X., Stochastic LQ Control via Primal-Dual Semidefinite Programming. SIAM Review, 46 (2004), 85-111.