Dr. M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell was born in Dakar, Senegal. Her academic degrees are in mathematics and physics (BS, Marseilles, France, 1968), applied mathematics and computer science (MS and Engineer Degree, Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble, France, 1970; 1971), operations research (MS, Stanford, 1972), and engineering-economic systems (Stanford, PhD, 1978). She was an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at MIT (1978 to 1981). In 1981, she joined the Stanford Department of Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management, where she became Professor (1991), then Chair (1997). In 1999, she was named the Burt and Deedee McMurtry Professor in the Stanford School of Engineering. She oversaw from 1999, the merger of two Stanford departments to form a new department of Management Science and Engineering, which she chaired from January 2000 to June 2011. She is a Senior Fellow (by courtesy) of the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. She joined CISAC as an affiliated faculty member in September 2011.
She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995, to its Council (2001-2007), and to the French Académie des Technologies (2003). She was a member of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board (2001-2004; 2006-2008). Her current memberships include the Boards of Trustees of the Aerospace Corp. (2004-), of InQtel (2006-) and of Draper Corporation (2009-). She is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Naval Postgraduate School, which she chaired from 2004 to 2006.
She is a world leader in engineering risk analysis and management and more generally, the use of Bayesian probability to process incomplete information. Her research and that of her Engineering Risk Research Group at Stanford have focused on the inclusion of technical and management factors in probabilistic risk analysis models with applications to the NASA shuttle tiles, offshore oil platforms and medical systems. Since 2001, she has combined risk analysis and game analysis to assess intelligence information and risks of terrorist attacks.
She is past president (1995)/fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, and fellow of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science. She has been a consultant to many industrial firms and government organizations. She has authored or co-authored more than a hundred papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She has received several best-paper awards from professional organizations and peer-reviewed journals.