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Operations Research Department
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, California 93943

Office: GL-258
(831) 656-1814
DSN: 756-1814
Fax: (831) 656-2595

DAVID L. ALDERSONDavid L. Alderson
Professor of Operations Research
Executive Director, NPS Center for Infrastructure Defense
Ph.D., Stanford University, 2003

David Alderson is a Professor in the Operations Research Department and serves as Executive Director for both the Center for Infrastructure Defense (CID) and the Data Science and Academic Group (DSAG)a> at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS).

Dr. Alderson's research focuses on the function and operation of critical infrastructures, with particular emphasis on how to invest limited resources to ensure efficient and resilient performance in the face of accidents, failures, natural disasters, or deliberate attacks. His research explores tradeoffs between efficiency, complexity, and fragility in a wide variety of public and private cyber-physical systems.

Dr. Alderson has been the Principal Investigator of sponsored research projects for the Navy, Marine Corps, Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard.

Dr. Alderson received his doctorate from Stanford University and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. He has held research positions at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the University of California Los Angeles, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and the Santa Fe Institute. He has extensive industry experience and has worked for several venture-back startup companies. His early career was spent developing technology at Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York City.

Research Interests

  • Modeling, analysis, and management of network-centric infrastructure systems
  • Mission assurance for military installations and island territories
  • Attacker-Defender Models for Critical Infrastructure Systems
  • Resilience of Cyber-Physical-Social Systems

Teaching Interests

  • Computational methods for Operations Research
  • Critical Infrastructure Systems and Their Defense
  • Complex Systems and Network Science


  • Prof. Alderson spent a portion of 2023 on sabbatical as a Visiting Scientist at Adaptive Capacity Labs.
  • Prof. Alderson is the recipient of the 2021 Richard W. Hamming Annual Teaching Award.
  • Prof. Alderson receives four-year award from DOD Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) to study climate-driven surprise on military installations (read more)
  • Prof. Alderson and Prof. David Woods (Ohio State) deliver 2-part keynote address at DOD Complexity Workshop:
    • D.L. Alderson, Outmaneuvering Complexity in Worlds of Surprise: Managing Fundamental Tradeoffs, Keynote address (part 1) at workshop "Complexity: Advancing the State of Thought and Practice Across Navy, DoD, and FedGov", hosted at NSWC Carderock Aug 27-29, 2019. (video, slides)
    • D.D. Woods, Outmaneuvering Complexity in Worlds of Surprise: How adaptive capacities in human-technology systems arebuilt, extended, sustained, degraded, and collapse, Keynote address (part 2) at workshop "Complexity: Advancing the State of Thought and Practice Across Navy, DoD, and FedGov", hosted at NSWC Carderock Aug 27-29, 2019. (video, slides)
  • Prof. Alderson and Dr. Paul Nicholas are recipients of the 2019 Best Paper award in the journal Military Operations Research for their paper Fast Design of Wireless Mesh Networks to Defend Against Worst-Case Jamming (link)
  • Prof. Alderson is the recipient of the 2017 Richard W. Hamming Annual Faculty Award for Interdisciplinary Achievement. Read article.
  • Prof. Alderson is the recipient of the 2016 ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Paper Award. Read article.
  • Prof. Alderson is a receipient of the 2014 Carl E. and Jessie W. Menneken Faculty Award for Excellence in Scientific Research. Read article.
  • Prof. Alderson leads team to win 2014 Military Operations Research Society Richard A. Barchi Prize. Read more.

Selected Publications


Material contained herein is made available for the purpose of peer review and discussion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.

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