News and events Tilburg University

Johan van Leeuwaarden appointed as TiSEM Professor of Stochastic Operations Research

Published: 11th June 2019 Last updated: 11th June 2019

As of June 1, 2019, Professor Johan van Leeuwaarden holds the Chair in Stochastic Operations Research (SOR). At Tilburg University, van Leeuwaarden works at the Econometrics and Operations Research department of the Tilburg School of Economics and Management (TiSEM). SOR is concerned with the mathematical analysis of systems whose outcome is not fully predictable, and to some extent determined by randomness.

Mathematical methods in operations research contribute to improved operational efficiency and quality in, for example, production environments and service industries. For services, uncertainty about customer arrival and processing times is crucial, and decision rules are needed that can respond to random events or diverging trends. Contexts in which bottlenecks and undesirable waiting times may arise include hospitals, e-commerce, cloud computing, communication networks, call centers and amusement parks.

Professor van Leeuwaarden is developing methods to optimize the design and control of large-scale systems, and he aspires to work with students and colleagues to keep pushing the boundaries of SOR. This field covers such topics as probability theory, stochastic processes, and stochastic optimization – topics that are relevant not only to operations research but also to many other fields. That is why Professor van Leeuwaarden sees many opportunities for new research collaborations in Tilburg.


Van Leeuwaarden teaches the Stochastic Operations Research Models (STORM) Bachelor’s course to second-year Econometrics students. In addition to mathematical theories, STORM covers such applications as inventory management, production planning, and queueing theory. With colleagues he will also teach the new Master’s course Decision Making under Uncertainty, designed to learn students how to develop algorithms for simulating and optimizing complex systems.

Johan van Leeuwaarden (1978) obtained his PhD in mathematics in 2005, with top honors. He received a Veni scholarship (2006), an ERC grant (2010), and the international INFORMS Erlang Prize (2012) for contributions to probability theory and applications. In 2012, Eindhoven University of Technology appointed him to the position of full professor. He has been a member of The Young Academy (The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences) since 2015.

 Note to editors

For more information please contact press officer Annemeike Tan, telephone +31 13 466 2596, e-mail, or Johan van Leeuwaarden, e-mail, telephone +31 13 466 2134.