By  Jennifer McManamay and Audra Book
Yacov Haimes

Yacov Haimes, Lawrence R. Quarles Professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science and founding director of the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, died Tuesday, Feb. 15, in Charlottesville.

Haimes retired from UVA in 2019. During his more than 30 years at UVA Engineering, he forged an international reputation for his insights into the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of large interdependent and interconnected systems. In the Internet of Things age, having the tools to understand and mitigate risk across the breadth of human activity is increasingly important.

Haimes, who came to UVA in 1987, advised 40 doctoral students and oversaw more than 80 master’s theses. He authored or co-authored more than 200 journal papers and six books and was cited an average of 1,000 times a year between 2012 and 2018.

Haimes was among the first to marry systems engineering perspectives with risk analysis techniques, creating a new paradigm that revolutionized the way decision-making is conducted for systems with multiple objectives and a range of stakeholders. His techniques helped address complex challenges in areas such as national security, water resource management and environmental engineering.

Haimes authored the preeminent textbook in the field, Risk Modeling, Assessment and Management, which was in its fourth edition at the time of his retirement in 2019.

In a 2019 Story about Haimes' career, his one-time protégé and then longtime colleague in the UVA Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, James H. Lambert, said Haimes was influential not only because he was a creative thinker and prolific writer, but because he understood that solving difficult engineering challenges isn’t a solitary pursuit.

“‘Big Science’ takes a critical mass of people working on the same problem. Yacov’s way was to bring together 50 scientists and policymakers in workshops all over the world. He put UVA in the middle of all that,” said Lambert, adding that Haimes organized dozens of such events, in addition to attending other conferences. Lambert traveled with Haimes as a graduate student in the early 1990s, and the opportunities shape Lambert’s career today.

“The richest experience was that he introduced me to a hundred experts who were also the kindest people and willing to share their knowledge with each other," Lambert said. “And I met their students and now our own students are getting to know each other.”

Read Haimes’ obituary in The Daily Progress.

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