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Esra Buyuktahtakin Toy

Associate Professor
Esra Buyuktahtakin Toy
217 Durham Hall
1145 Perry Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061

I am looking for highly motivated prospective Ph.D. students with a strong background in optimization and an interest in machine learning and applications, such as healthcare, environment & sustainability, and logistics. See the Graduate Assistantship position announcement here.

Research Areas

Main Area:  Operations Research, Integrated Optimization and Machine Learning, Decision Making under Uncertainty

  • Methodology: Risk-averse Stochastic Mixed-Integer Programming, Combinatorial Optimization, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Reinforcement Learning, and Algorithms
  • Applications: Emerging Applications in Healthcare, Epidemiological, Forestry and Agricultural Systems and Supply Chain & Logistics: tackling infectious diseases that ravage the human body, such as the COVID-19, Ebola virus disease, and the HIV, and invasive species outbreaks that create havoc on forests and agriculture, such as the emerald ash borer (EAB) and Sericea Lespedeza in North America
  • Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Florida, 2009
  • M.S. in Management Science, Lehigh University, 2007
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering, Bilkent University, 2005

Dr. Esra Büyüktahtakιn Toy is an Associate Professor in the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. She worked at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Wichita State University (WSU), and the University of Arizona (UA) prior to joining Virginia Tech. Dr. Büyüktahtakιn Toy’s research focuses on advancing the state-of-the-art in multi-stage stochastic combinatorial optimization with a mix of theory and algorithms. Her recent research investigates deep machine learning and supervised learning algorithms to predict optimal solutions to mixed-integer programs. Dr. Büyüktahtakιn Toy is a national leader in epidemic disease modeling and logistics optimization to tackle epidemic diseases in healthcare, agriculture, and forestry. Examples of applications include infectious diseases that ravage the human body, such as COVID-19, Ebola virus disease (EVD), and HIV, and invasive species that create havoc on forests, such as the emerald ash borer (EAB) in North America and Canada, Sericea Lespedeza damaging agricultural products in the Great Plains, and flammable buffelgrass in the Sonoran Desert. Dr. Büyüktahtakιn Toy is the recipient of the 2016 NSF CAREER Award. She has also been awarded various projects by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Forest Service. She has published her research in 35 flagship journals in Operations Research. She has taken leadership roles in INFORMS Junior Faculty Interest Group (JFIG)  and is the associate editor for the Springer Nature Operations Research Forum journal.