Nikolaos Trichakis

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Nikos Trichakis is an assistant professor of business administration in the Technology and Operations Management Unit, teaching the Technology and Operations course in the MBA required curriculum and the Operations Management course in the doctoral curriculum.

In his research, Professor Trichakis investigates the interplay of fairness and efficiency in resource allocation problems and operations, together with the inherent tradeoffs that arise in balancing these objectives. He is interested in diverse industry applications ranging from health care to airlines to finance. His work has been published in Management Science and Operations Research.

Professor Trichakis received his Ph.D. in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He also holds MS degrees from Stanford University and Imperial College (UK), and a BS degree from Aristotle University (Greece), all in electrical and computer engineering. Before his doctoral studies, Professor Trichakis worked in software development at Sungard APT in London.

  1. Fairness and Efficiency in Resource Allocation

    In studying the relationship of fairness and efficiency, Professor Trichakis takes the novel approach of looking at varied industries for unifying factors, and he pays special attention to inequities by incorporating both quantitative work in social welfare and the philosophical literature on fairness. He has applied his model primarily to organ donation allocation and air traffic scheduling, asking whether the “natural” objective of efficiency is the right one.

    Organ donation allocation

    UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, is revising its allocation policies, which determine how deceased-donor organs are offered to patients on a waiting list. Since a successful transplantation typically increases the life expectancy of the recipient, the natural objective for the UNOS might be to maximize the resulting aggregate life year gains. Yet a policy based on this efficiency rationale would fail to account for inequities to particular subsets of patients, based, for example, on their age or overall health status. Professor Trichakis has developed a points-based mechanism that takes fairness constraints as input and in a systematic way designs an allocation policy to maximize anticipated net life year gains while satisfying the fairness constraints. This mechanism has broad applicability to other dynamic allocation problems in health care and beyond.

    Air traffic scheduling

    The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) needs to reallocate landing and take-off slots among the airlines in a way that minimizes system delay costs but also ensures that all gains from optimization are split among the airlines in an equitable fashion. Professor Trichakis has developed a concrete, quantitative statement of the design problem that might be solved as the FAA seeks the “right” operational objective. He also gauges the consequences of various solutions by using detailed historical air traffic data.