Walt’s wORld – Conference Scheduling

by Walt DeGrange on April 18th, 2010

If you are like me, you have attended your fair share of conferences. There are the really large conferences (like the INFORMS Annual Conference) that have elaborate tracks and cluster sessions with people in charge of recruiting speakers and scheduling presentations.  The Practice Conference is a little different. So how is the schedule created?

I went right to top for the answer by talking to Bill Klimack, Council Chair for the Practice Conference Advisory Council. Evidently, about 50% of the presentations do follow the traditional track system. The Council tries to identify any hot topics for those tracks. The other 50% of the presentations are selected from the Call for Presentations.

Presentations are selected and then the scheduling begins. Bill has the final review of the schedule and uses a proprietary “top secret” heuristic to deconflict any briefs with the same subject being presented at the same time.

So — no fancy linear programming scheduling program to be found! I will continue to look for OR supporting OR…

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2 Comments
  1. Walt DeGrange permalink

    Forgot to add that as of 9am on Sunday only one presenter has cancelled due to the volcanic ash issue in the Atlantic. I am sure there are more than one airline LPs running 24/7!

  2. Peter Buczkowski permalink

    Next year we need to look at total attendance by time slot. I feel fortunate to have had a Monday morning timeslot but certainly felt for those speaking at 4:30 yesterday!

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