Gao reappointed as Director of Systems Engineering

By: Cornell Engineering

H. Oliver Gao, the inaugural Howard Simpson Professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been reappointed as director of the Systems Engineering program in Cornell Engineering for a four-year term beginning July 1, 2023.

“Oliver is a passionate advocate for Systems Engineering,” said Lynden Archer, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering. “He has big plans for the program’s future, and I look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Cornell’s Systems Engineering program was founded in 1999 in response to industry needs. Over the ensuing decades, it has evolved and expanded. In addition to its long-established master of engineering program, Systems Engineering initiated a Ph.D. program in 2016 focused on research in systems science and engineering. The first Ph.D. degree was awarded in spring 2020.

This is Gao’s second reappointment to lead the program. He was initially appointed in 2016 and first reappointed in 2019.

Gao joined Cornell in 2005 after a stint as a quantitative analyst in the mathematical and econometrical modeling division at The Rohatyn Group, a Wall Street hedge fund specializing in emerging markets. He received his Ph.D. in civil engineering, as well as master’s degrees in statistics and agriculture and resource economics, from the University of California, Davis. Prior to that, he earned undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and environmental science, as well as a master’s degree in civil engineering, from Tsinghua University in China.

Gao’s research focuses on transportation systems, environment, energy, and sustainable development, among other areas. The Cornell University Post-Processing Software (CU-PPS) for air quality and congestion management developed by his group is the nation’s first web-based software integrating activity-based travel demand models with EPA MOVES model. It is the official software in use for New York City to ensure that transportation plans and programs will not cause any new violations of federal air quality standards, and thus helps protect a population of 12.4 million in the NYC metro area. 

In addition to his leadership role in Systems Engineering, Gao also serves as the associate director of the Cornell Program in Infrastructure Policy (CPIP) and as the director of the Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health (CTECH).


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