Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Industrial Engineering

Major Professor

Hugh Medal

Committee Members

James Ostrowski, Hoon Hwangbo, Guannan Zhang


In a typical optimization problem, uncertainty does not depend on the decisions being made in the optimization routine. But, in many application areas, decisions affect underlying uncertainty (endogenous uncertainty), either altering the probability distributions or the timing at which the uncertainty is resolved. Stochastic programming is a widely used method in optimization under uncertainty. Though plenty of research exists on stochastic programming where decisions affect the timing at which uncertainty is resolved, much less work has been done on stochastic programming where decisions alter probability distributions of uncertain parameters. Therefore, we propose methodologies for the latter category of optimization under endogenous uncertainty and demonstrate their benefits in some application areas.

First, we develop a data-driven stochastic program (integrates a supervised machine learning algorithm to estimate probability distributions of uncertain parameters) for a wildfire risk reduction problem, where resource allocation decisions probabilistically affect uncertain human behavior. The nonconvex model is linearized using a reformulation approach. To solve a realistic-sized problem, we introduce a simulation program to efficiently compute the recourse objective value for a large number of scenarios. We present managerial insights derived from the results obtained based on Santa Fe National Forest data.

Second, we develop a data-driven stochastic program with both endogenous and exogenous uncertainties with an application to combined infrastructure protection and network design problem. In the proposed model, some first-stage decision variables affect probability distributions, whereas others do not. We propose an exact reformulation for linearizing the nonconvex model and provide a theoretical justification of it. We designed an accelerated L-shaped decomposition algorithm to solve the linearized model. Results obtained using transportation networks created based on the southeastern U.S. provide several key insights for practitioners in using this proposed methodology.

Finally, we study submodular optimization under endogenous uncertainty with an application to complex system reliability. Specifically, we prove that our stochastic program's reliability maximization objective function is submodular under some probability distributions commonly used in reliability literature. Utilizing the submodularity, we implement a continuous approximation algorithm capable of solving large-scale problems. We conduct a case study demonstrating the computational efficiency of the algorithm and providing insights.

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