University of Southern California

New Director Named to Lead CREATE

Date: August 17, 2014

Ali Photo Compressed for Web.jpg
Risk analysis expert Ali Abbas is the fourth leader of USC's security research center.

Ali Abbas has been named the new director of USC's National Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. CREATE is jointly housed in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and the USC Price School of Public Policy.

"We are very pleased to welcome Professor Abbas as the new director of CREATE," said USC Viterbi Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. "We look forward to his advancing this powerhouse of research in the areas of decision analysis and risk and to his continuing the outstanding legacy of his predecessors Steve Hora, Detlof von Winterfeldt and Randy Hall."

Abbas has been on the faculty of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he held the position of associate professor in the Department of Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering at the College of Engineering. In that capacity he founded the Information Systems and Decision Analysis Lab. Prior to the University of Illinois, Abbas was a visiting scholar in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, where he also earned his Ph.D. in management science and engineering and his Ph.D. minor in electrical engineering.

"We are at a critical point in history with respect to terrorism and natural disaster events," said USC Price Dean Jack H. Knott. "Evidence-based knowledge to inform sound policy decisions and preparedness for the future is an imperative in today's world. I look forward to Dr. Abbas' contributions as the new director of CREATE."

A recipient of multiple research grants from the National Science Foundation, Abbas focuses his research on decision analysis, risk analysis and data-based decision-making. He has been widely published in books, journals and conference publications. He has also shared his expertise through television appearances and talks.

Abbas teaches courses on decision analysis and has been cited on the University of Illinois' "List of Teachers Ranked Excellent by Their Students" in every semester taught since August 2004. He has also taught executive education courses at a variety of institutions such as Stanford and the American University in Cairo.

"The years ahead will provide exciting new opportunities and challenges for addressing new problems in homeland security," Abbas said. "The unique combination of research efforts required to tackle these problems can only occur at a place like CREATE."

Established in 2004 and renewed by the Department of Homeland Security in 2007, CREATE is the nation's first university-based Center of Excellence, supporting research in response to the threat of terrorism and natural disasters.

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