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Leslie Earl Trotter, Jr.
School of Operations Research and Information Engineering

Les Trotter pic

Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs), College of Engineering

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235 Rhodes Hall
136 Hoy Road
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853


Leslie Trotter received an A.B. (Mathematics) from Princeton University in 1965, an M.S. (Industrial and Systems Engineering) from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1971, and a Ph.D. (Operations Research) from Cornell University in 1973. He had a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Wisconsin and was then on the faculty of Yale University before joining the Cornell faculty in 1975. He has held visiting appointments at Bonn University, Germany (2 years); E.P.F. -- Lausanne, Switzerland (3 years); Augsburg University, Germany (1 year); E.C. - Paris, France (1 year). His research is in the area of discrete optimization and he has published numerous research papers in this area. Professor Trotter was recipient of a Senior U.S. Scientist Award from the Humboldt Foundation and has been cited for the past 18 years in Who's Who in America. At Cornell he has received 7 awards for teaching excellence and has directed the dissertation research of over 25 Ph.D. students; his research program has sponsored 10 postdoctoral students.


Within the broad area of discrete and combinatorial optimization, Professor Trotter's research has focused on the following topics: structural and algorithmic properties of the stability number for simple undirected graphs, abstract duality models, computational implementation of and experimentation with parallel computing methods for integer programming, development and analysis of orthogonal projection algorithms for linear programming, and integer programming models for certain classical problems in number theory.

Teaching Interests

Professor Trotter's teaching treats topics in the general field of optimization, primarily discrete and combinatorial optimization. His instruction emphasizes the fundamental interplay of operations research, mathematics, and computer science in the context of strategic decision-making: development of models (operations research) motivated by real-world applications, of basic methodology (mathematics) designed for analysis of the models, and of algorithmic tools (computer science) whose implementation produces results required in the decision analysis.

Service Interests

Professor Trotter currently serves are Associate Dean (Undergraduate Programs) for the College of Engineering; in the past he has served numerous times (over 10 years) in the administrative positions of Director, Associate Director, and Director of Graduate Studies for the School of OR&IE. His service contributions for the College of Engineering in recent years include chairing the International Programs Committee, serving on the Budget Advisory Task Force convened in response to the recent economic crisis, and serving as Chair of the Common Curriculum Governing Board for Engineering. At the University level, he served (and chaired) frequently on the Financial Policies Committee; it is noteworthy that his efforts on this committee (over the years) had significant impact on the University in the areas of faculty salary improvement, teaching responsibility, and age composition prediction (for retirement/renewal planning).

Awards & Honors

  • J.P. and Mary Barger Teaching Award (College of Engineering) 1998
  • Who's Who in America Citation (Marquis) 1996
  • Paramount Professor Award (College of Engineering) 1993
  • Senior US Scientist Award (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) 1987
  • ORIE Undergraduate Teaching Excellence Award (Cornell, College of Engineering) 1977

Contact Information

Leslie Earl Trotter, Jr.
Cornell University
235 Rhodes Hall
136 Hoy Road
Ithaca, NY 14853

(607) 255-5360 - phone
(607) 255-9129 - fax