Will Ma

Assistant Professor
Decision, Risk, and Operations (DRO) division
Graduate School of Business, Columbia University

Email: wm2428 (at) gsb (dot) columbia (dot) edu
Office: Kravis 951

Will's picture 

Hi! I am an assistant professor in the Decision, Risk, and Operations division at Columbia Business School. Prior to July 2019, I was a postdoctoral researcher at Google Research. In July 2018, I received my Ph.D. from the MIT Operations Research Center.

I spent 2013-2015 as a co-founder of Lunarch Studios, the start-up that designed the strategy game Prismata. During those years, I had also been a research intern at Google, and a trading intern at Jane Street Capital.

I completed my undergraduate degree in 2010 from the University of Waterloo, majoring in Pure Mathematics and Combinatorics/Optimization. During that time, I competed in many international poker tournaments. In 2011 I founded the annual poker class at MIT, which can be accessed on MIT OpenCourseWare.


Broadly speaking, I am interested in designing data-driven algorithms and analyzing their performance, usually in online decision-making settings. Specific topics from my recent focus include prophet inequalities and viewing assortment optimization through the lens of mechanism design. My research is motivated by applications in revenue management, such as product recommendation, online and sequential assortment optimization, and selling reusable resources. I am also interested in supply chain management, especially pertaining to e-commerce fulfillment and rationing during shortages.

Below is a list of my available papers, sorted by topic but generally given in reverse chronological order of first posting date.

Data-driven (Online) Optimization

E-commerce Fulfillment

Prophets, Secretaries, and Contention Resolution

Assortment Optimization and Mechanism Design

Online and Stochastic Matching

Online and Stochastic Knapsack


Other Revenue Management

Social Applications

Optimization Theory

Video Games