18 September 2018

Prof. Detlof von Winterfeldt

Prof. Detlof von Winterfeldt was IIASA Director form 2009-2012 and recently gave an institute seminar on "Risk and Decision Analysis to Improve Homeland Security." 

Detlof von Winterfeld © IIASA

Detlof von Winterfeld © IIASA

The lecture began with a warm welcome noting Prof. von Winterfeldt's long association with IIASA that goes back to 1975 when he was a research scholar at the institute until 1978, then returning as Director General & CEO from 2009-2012. 

Prof. von Winterfeldt co-founded the Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) in 2004 and served as Director until 2008, being reappointed in 2018. 

In his seminar, Prof. von Winterfeldt discussed the successes and challenges of using risk and decision analysis to solve homeland security problems and whether these activities made the nation safer. The presentation provided a brief history of the work at CREATE and highlighted some of the successes in applying risk and decision analysis to major homeland security problems. Examples included a risk analysis of bioterrorism threats, deciding whether to put surface to air missile defenses on all wide body commercial airplanes, and protecting infrastructure assets.  

From left to right: Acting Director General & CEO Prof. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Prof. Detlof von Winterfeldt, Acting Deputy Director & Deputy CEO Dr. Markus Amann

About Detlof von Winterfeldt

Detlof von Winterfeldt is the inaugural J.A. Tiberti Chair of Ethics and Decision Making and a Professor of Systems Engineering at the Daniel J. Epstein Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering of the University of Southern California. He holds a joint appointment as Professor of Public Policy at the Price School of Public Policy at USC. In 2004, he co-founded the National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE), the first university-based center of excellence funded by the US Department of Homeland Security. He served as CREATE’s director from 2004 to 2008, and he was reappointed to this position in 2015. In the interim, he was on leave of absence from USC as Director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (2009-2012) and as Centennial Professor of the London School of Economics and Political Science (2008-2012).  

Throughout his academic career he has been active in teaching, research, university administration, and consulting. He has taught courses in statistics, decision analysis, risk analysis, systems analysis, research design, and behavioral decision research. His research interests are in the foundation and practice of decision and risk analysis applied to the areas of technology development, environmental risks, natural hazards and terrorism. He is the co-author of two books, three edited volumes, and author or co-author of over 120 refereed articles and chapter. He has served on fifteen committees of U.S. National Academies, including an appointment to the National Academies’ Board on Mathematical Sciences and their Applications and as Chair of the Committee on the Study of Performance Based Safety Regulations. He is an elected Fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) and of the Society for Risk Analysis. In 2000, he received the Ramsey Medal for distinguished contributions to decision analysis from the Decision Analysis Society of INFORMS. In 2009, he received the Gold Medal from the International Society for Multicriteria Decision Making for advancing the field. And in 2011, the Council of IIASA elected him as Honorary IIASA Scholar, and in 2012, he received the distinguished achievement award by the Society for Risk Analysis.

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Last edited: 20 September 2018


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program

Video Interview with Detlof von Winterfeldt


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