(February 5, 2018) The ISE Department would like to welcome Dr. Robert Hildebrand as an Assistant Professor in Operations Research in Spring 2018. He comes to Virginia Tech from Simons Institute for Theoretical Computing in Berkeley, CA. Prior to that, he held the Herman Goldstine Postdoctoral Fellowship in Mathematical Sciences at IBM in Yorktown Heights, NY. He also worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Operations Research at ETH Zurich. He obtained his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from University of California, Davis in 2013 and his B.A. in mathematics from University of Puget Sound in 2008.
Dr. Hildebrand’s research interests include mixed-integer programming, convex geometry, machine learning, collaborative optimization, and distributive optimization. His collaborations with other researchers have produced papers that have been accepted and/or published in various well-known journals including Mathematical Programming, Mathematics of Operations Research, Operations Research Letters, and SIAM Journal on Optimization. In addition to his postdoctoral fellowship with IBM, he received the Government Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship from UC Davis and the Yueh-Jing Lin Scholarship in Mathematics, also from UC Davis, among other honors and awards.
Dr. Hildebrand’s first teaching assignment in ISE is ISE 6414 Integer Programming this spring semester. He was a co-instructor for a topics course in integer programming and combinatorial optimization at ETH Zurich as well as a guest lecturer for workshops at UC Davis and at the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Hildebrand has an extensive background in mathematics and algorithms. His interests in those areas led him to study optimization, specifically integer programming. He decided to join ISE because “this department is actively working on real world problems while also respecting the mathematics that goes into solving these problems.” He continues, “Theoretical and applied optimization work should go hand in hand so each may constantly inform the other on what directions to pursue. ISE is an excellent place to foster these connections.”
In looking for prospective Ph.D. students to work with, he wants “hard working students who are creative problem solvers and can propose potential research questions.” He would like to see his students “understand the big picture of a problem, while also being capable of carrying out the detailed proofs.”
In his spare time, Dr. Hildebrand especially enjoys outdoor activities, including rock climbing, cycling, and hiking. Since coming to Blacksburg, he enjoys spending time listening to live blues music at local restaurants and seeing films at the Lyric Theater. He says, “The pace of life here is much more relaxed than that of New York, and I’m greatly appreciating that. I look forward to venturing a bit further out of Blacksburg to explore the outdoors and the neighboring cities.”