College of Science

Mathematician Wiecek earns gold medal from prestigious international society


CLEMSON, South Carolina — College of Science professor of mathematical and statistical sciences Margaret Wiecek has won the Multiple Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) Gold Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the International Society on MCDM. Wiecek, who received the award at the organization’s June 2019 conference in Istanbul, was recognized for her work in the field of optimization.

A Clemson faculty member since 1988, Wiecek conducts research on theory, methodology and applications of mathematical programming with special interest in multi-criteria optimization and decision making. During the past two decades she has focused on the Pareto set, a concept dealing with the optimization of allocating resources.

Finding the Pareto set has been a challenge to researchers because even if Pareto points can be theoretically characterized, their computation is often challenging and expensive. In many multiobjective optimization problems, the Pareto set is difficult to compute.

Prof. Wiecek with MCDM Gold Medal
Mathematical and statistical sciences professor Margaret Wiecek received the Multiple Criteria Decision Making Gold Medal from the International Society on MCDM in Istanbul in June.

Wiecek and her research collaborators have spent years attempting to “capture” the Pareto set by “approximating” or “representing” this set, two strategies that differ from each other with respect to the types of solutions they engage.

“Since my doctoral graduation I have been working in the area of MCDM, which leads to lots of great math problems reflecting the challenges of human decision making,” Wiecek said.  “I am honored to have received the MCDM Gold Medal for the work that has given me professional growth, is useful to people, but also brings fun and excitement.”

She added: “I am also delighted to join the past recipients of the MCDM Gold Medal, including prominent U.S. researchers such as Ralph L. Keeney, Howard Raiffa, Thomas Saaty, and Ralph Steuer. I have long respected them for their contributions to MCDM.”

According to Kevin James, director of the school of mathematical and statistical sciences, the MCDM Gold Medal is a fitting honor for Wiecek. “Professor Wiecek is a highly productive researcher who has a strong commitment to mentoring graduate students and to teaching at all levels,” James said. “We are immensely pleased with the recognition for her lifelong work.”

In addition to accepting her award at the conference, Wiecek presented a talk titled “The Pareto Set: An Evolving Challenge in Multiobjective Optimization.”

About the International Society on Multiple Criteria Decision Making

The International Society on MCDM has about 2,700 members from 96 countries. The organization develops, tests, evaluates and applies methodologies for solving multiple criteria decision-making problems. In addition, it fosters interaction and research in the scientific field of multiple criteria decision making and cooperates with other organizations in the study of management from a quantitative perspective.

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