Packing Up

by Jim Cochran on October 14th, 2009

I had a great time at the 2009 INFORMS yesterday. As part of the MINDSET project, I travelled with Ken Chelst, Dave Goldsman, Tom Edwards, and R. Jean Ruth to the San Dieguito Acadamey in Encinitas to work with local area high school math teachers on integrating operations research into their curricula. The audience was very receptive, asked many questions, and appeared to be genuinely excited about bringing operations research to their students at a meaningful (i.e., not superficial) level. When my contribution ended, I was sent by one of the participating teachers to the Principal’s office (déjà vu) – to arrange for a cab to bring me back to the convention center.

Later in the day I met with Barry List (INFORMS Director of Communications) to record a podcast on sports and operations research. As always, Barry was well prepared and did an excellent job with this task. Pete Horner (Editor of both ORMS Today and Analytics) will also provide me with an opportunity to contribute a short related item to Analytics.

Earlier in the day Barry had also run a PR grass roots workshop designed to help INFORMS members (and subdivision officers in particular) gain greater recognition for their work. Barry outlined strategies for getting exposure for various operations research-related efforts through coverage in news and feature stories by local publications, TV, and Internet news sources. I wish I could have participated in this session, but this workshop conflicted with my road trip to Encinitas.

Before dinner I attended a terrific meeting of the SpORts subdivision. In addition to a brief discussion of subdivision business issues, the meeting featured a presentation by Chris Long (the Senior Quantitative Analyst for the San Diego Padres). Chris gave a very interesting talk on quantitative issues he addresses in his role with the Padres and suggested several promising areas of research.

I am on my way to what promises to be a fascinating session organized by Mike Fry on “Operations Research Applications for Elections.” After a quick stop in the exhibit hall, I will be off to the San Diego International Airport for the trip back to Louisiana. I have enjoyed catching up with many of you at this conference and seeing many presentations of interesting research, and I wish each of you a safe and uneventful trip home.

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