INFORMS Annual Meeting Seattle 2007 - The Spirit of Technology
November 4-7, 2007 || Washington State Convention & Trade Center || Seattle, WashingtonSeattle
About Seattle

Plenary & Keynote Presentations

Sunday, November 4

Some Thoughts on Our Profession: “So what is it you do?”
Seth Bonder
Founder and Former Chairman/CEO of Vector Research, Incorporated (VRI)

Our profession has a wonderful history with roots to the “Scientific Management” work of Taylor in the 1800s, industrial engineering in the 1900s and the heroic age of World War II. And in the last six decades, we have made substantial contributions to the effectiveness and efficiency of many public and private sector enterprises. Yet we are an invisible profession to the population at large, and many in our profession still have a difficult time answering the question: “so what is it you do?” In this talk I will suggest reasons for this difficulty; look at sister professions to see why they don’t have this problem; propose a definition of our profession that indicates what we do and highlights its inherent content; and present some recommendations for changes in our profession related to its science, practice, education and professional dimensions.

SethBonder Throughout his distinguished career, Seth Bonder has been a leader in applying operations research to national defense operational, planning and policy issues, and subsequently to healthcare delivery re-engineering and disease management practices. He is the founder and former CEO of Vector Research, Incorporated and was a Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Michigan. Bonder served as the 27th President of the Operations Research Society of America, President of the Military Operations Research Society, and Vice-President of the International Federation of Operational Research Societies. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Patriotic Service Award from the Secretary of the Army, the George E. Kimball Medal, the Jacinto Steinhardt Award, and the INFORMS President's Award. He is an INFORMS Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering. Bonder is currently working on approaches to mitigate the improvised explosive device problem in Iraq.

Sunday, November 4

Homeland Security Science and Technology: Missions, Structures and the Role of Analysis
Ervin Kapos
Director, Operations Analysis
Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate

ErvinKaposErvin Kapos was previously the Director of the Operations Analysis Program in the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The ONR program established operations analysis (OA) as a tool for management decision making in ONR and provided solutions to problems in analytical methodology that obstruct the application of OA in key areas such as readiness assessment, command and control and experimentation. Kapos was the founding principal and President of Kapos Associates Inc. (KAI) from 1984-2000. At KAI, he evolved a complex, integrated program structure of policy studies, operational analysis and executive level gaming that, while initially focused on naval issues, also served clients up to Cabinet level, including various interagency bodies, executive departments, military services and regional commands, as well as the private sector. Prior to KAI, Kapos had a career with Ketron, Inc, where he was President from 1980-1984.  He began his career at the Navy’s Operations Evaluation Group (later an element of the Center for Naval Analysis), first serving several tours as an analyst primarily with the Pacific Fleet commands, then successively director of CNA’s Southeast Asia Combat Analysis Division, Marine Corps Operations Analysis Group and Operations Evaluation Group. He has a BA in mathematics and completed PhD course work in mathematics, both at Indiana University.

Reprise Presentation
Sunday, November 4

Operations Research Advances Cancer Therapeutics
Eva K. Lee,Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Industrial and Systems Engineering; Health Systems Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University

Marco Zaider, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

As the world's oldest, largest and the best private cancer center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) seeks next-generation cancer treatment advances to treat its patients in the best possible ways. The MSKCC and Georgia Tech team devised sophisticated optimization modeling and computational techniques to implement an intra-operative 3D treatment planning system for brachytherapy (the placement of radioactive "seeds" inside a tumor) that offers a much safer and more reliable treatment. The system eliminates pre-operation simulation and post-implant imaging, saving an estimated 459 million dollars per year on prostate cancer alone. Quality of life is improved through drastic reduction (45-60%) of complications due to plans that deliver less radiation to healthy structures. This has a profound impact on the cost for interventions to manage side effects. The system removes the operator-dependent quality associated with planning, and has the potential to establish "standard" quality-assurance guidelines.

Eva LeeEva Lee is an Associate Professor in the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, where she is Director of the Center for Operations Research in Medicine and HealthCare. Lee received her MS and PhD degrees in Computational and Applied Mathematics from Rice University in 1993. Upon graduation, she received an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in the area of parallel computation, followed by an NSF/NATO postdoctoral scholarship on scientific computing. In 1996, she received the NSF CAREER Young Investigator Award in integer programming and parallel algorithms and their applications to medical diagnosis and cancer treatment. She was the first IE/OR recipient for the prestigious Whitaker Foundation Biomedical Grant for Young Investigators, awarded for her work on a novel approach for combining biological imaging and optimal treatment design for prostate cancer. In 2004, Lee was selected as one of the Extraordinary Women Engineers. In 2005, she received the INFORMS Pierskalla Best Paper Award for research excellence in healthcare and management science for her work on emergency response and planning, large-scale prophylaxis dispensing, and resource allocation for bioterrorism and infectious disease outbreaks. In 2006, she was chosen by the American Mathematical Society as the mathematician ambassador to speak and discuss individually to congressional leaders on her research advances in the medical and healthcare domain, and the importance of mathematics in scientific advances. She has edited three books and published over 70 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Marco ZaiderMarco Zaider received his PhD from Tel-Aviv University (1976). As a post-doctoral fellow and then staff member at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he worked on the treatment of cancer with pions. In 1979 Zaider joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons (Columbia University) where he rose through the academic ranks to become Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology, Public Health and Applied Physics, and Director of the Graduate Program in Medical Physics. In 1998 he was appointed Attending and Head of Brachytherapy Physics at MSKCC and Professor of Physics in Radiology at Cornell University Medical School, positions which he currently holds. He served in leadership positions with NCRP, ICRP and AAPM. Zaider is currently Councilor In Physics for the RRS and Member of the Main Council (NCRP). He is board certified by the ABMP in radiation oncology. He has published two books and over 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

IFORS Distinguished Lecture
Monday, November 5

Using OR to Improve the Quality of Your Life
Ralph L. Keeney
Research Professor of Decision Sciences
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

Most operations researchers are concerned with helping companies, governments, organizations and other individuals make better decisions. We should also use our OR concepts, techniques and tools for the important decisions in our own lives. This presentation outlines guidelines for systematic thinking and analysis to help you improve the quality of your life. Since individuals can purposefully influence the quality of their lives only by their decisions, an individual first needs to define what he or she means by quality of life. This can be done by creating a coherent set of life objectives. Using these, the individual should recognize decision opportunities, create alternatives and make decisions that further these life objectives. The presentation includes procedures to help one examine life-changing decisions, personal policy choices and fundamental life tradeoffs, such as time, health and money. Several examples using the ideas presented are included.

RalphKeeneyRalph L. Keeney has a BS in engineering from UCLA and a PhD in operations research from MIT. His research interests concern models of decisions involving multiple objectives, application of decision analysis for complex corporate and governmental problems, risk analysis involving life-threatening risks, structuring decisions and creating innovative alternatives. He is the author of numerous published articles and several books on various aspects of decision-making. His recent book Smart Choices (Harvard Business School Press, 1999), coauthored with John Hammond and Howard Raiffa, brings the basic knowledge from the decision science field to individuals interested in making better decisions in their professional and personal lives. Keeney received the Frank P. Ramsey medal for distinguished contributions in decision analysis and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. 


Monday, November 5

Gaining Competitive Advantage through the Deployment of Advanced Decision Support Systems
Gang Yu
Vice President of Worldwide Procurement
Dell Inc.

Advanced information technology through global networks drives today’s business more competitive, boundless and informative. To succeed or even just survive in this new era requires a commitment to scientific and effective management of all available resources. The deployment of advanced decision support systems can help enterprises gain competitive advantage through effective usage of resources, timely decisions and efficient operations. These in turn will result in improved customer experience and increased profits. In this talk, Gang Yu will illustrate the key elements for successfully defining, designing, developing and deploying decision support systems. He will call on his experiences in managing airline real-time operations at CALEB Technologies, in managing global supply chain at and in managing worldwide procurement at Dell Inc.

GangYuBefore assuming his position at Dell, Gang Yu served as Vice President of Worldwide Supply Chain Operations, Prior to, he was the Jack G. Taylor Professor of Business at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also the Founder and former Chairman/CEO of CALEB Technologies Corporation (now a subsidiary of Accenture). The real-time decision support systems developed by CALEB have been deployed at many major US airlines. Yu has published over 70 journal articles, three patents and four books. He won the 2002 Franz Edelman Management Science Achievement Award from INFORMS and the 2003 Outstanding IIE Publication Award from the Institute of Industrial Engineers, in addition to many other awards. He received his MS from Cornell University and his PhD from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.


Monday, November 5

Fast Cross-Entropy Methods for Solving NP-Hard Combinatorial Optimization and Counting Problems
Reuven Y. Rubinstein
Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

We present a survey on the cross-entropy entropy methods to approximate the solutions of a broad class of NP-hard combinatorial optimization problems (COPs) including integer programs and for counting, like counting the number of Hamiltonian cycles. The main idea of our approach is to associate with each COP and each counting problem an auxiliary generic convex minimum cross-entropy program that is easy to solve analytically. For counting problems, we use the optimal pdf obtained from the solution of the minimum cross-entropy program as an importance sampling pdf to estimate from simulation the desired counting quantity. For COPs (with a unique optimal solution), we show that the optimal pdf of the minimum cross-entropy program converges to its associated degenerated counterpart. This allows us to approximate the solution of COPs deterministically, that is, without resorting to simulation. We present extensive numerical results for many interesting applications and show that our method allows us to approximate fast and quite accurately COPs and counting problems with hundreds of variables and hundreds of constraints.

ReubenRubensteinReuven Rubinstein is a world known expert in stochastic modeling, applied probability and Monte Carlo simulation methods. He has written over 100 articles and published six books with Wiley and Springer. His citation index is in the top 5% among the scientists in OR and applied probability worldwide. Rubinstein spent most of his sabbatical years at top universities in the world including Columbia, Harvard, Michigan and Stanford University. He is a consultant to many leading firms, including IBM, Motorola and NEC. Rubinstein is the inventor of the popular score-function method in simulation analysis and the generic cross-entropy methods for combinatorial optimization and counting. For details on the cross-entropy, which includes over 100 publications, go to



Tuesday, November 6

Reinventing Operations for a Globally Integrated Economy
Robert W. Moffat, Jr.
Senior Vice President, Integrated Operations
IBM Corporation

When it comes to managing operations and improving the flow of goods and services, every institution in the world is grappling with the reality of globalization. The barriers that used to block the flow of work, capital and ideas are weakening–in many cases, disappearing. New business models are being built on the notion that work can and will flow from anywhere to anywhere in an interconnected world. Competing in this new environment requires fundamentally new approaches to operations–dissolving the boundaries between business process, how and where they are performed and creating a capacity to integrate vast capabilities globally.  This presentation will cover how companies must reinvent operations to make more informed decisions about how to:

  • Deploy people, processes and assets to optimize production globally.
  • Manage human capital as one global asset to connect the best ideas.
  • Involve customers, partners and employees to collaborate and innovate on offerings, business processes and business models.

BobMoffatRobert W. Moffat, Jr. is responsible for managing operations that support IBM's product and most of its service offerings worldwide. His mission is to integrate these operations globally, using new business process designs and advanced technology to achieve greater levels of efficiency while improving IBM's market responsiveness. In this role, he leads IBM's Integrated Supply Chain (including procurement, manufacturing, logistics and customer fulfillment), global delivery for strategic outsourcing and delivery operations for IBM’s Managed Business Process Services business, which includes Business Transformation Outsourcing services.

Moffat joined IBM in 1978 and has held several executive positions, including senior vice president and group executive of IBM's Personal and Printing Systems Group. Prior to that, he ran manufacturing, fulfillment and procurement for the PC business. He led the team that pioneered the Advanced Fulfillment Initiative and channel collaboration initiatives, which was awarded the 1999 Franz Edelman Award. He is a member of the IBM Performance Team and the IBM Corporate Operations Team. He serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for The Manufacturing Institute and is a non-voting observer on the Board of Directors of Lenovo Group Limited. Moffat graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, with a BS degree in Economics and holds an MBA in Management Information Systems from Iona College.

Tuesday, November 6

Organizational Transformation - Insights and Challenges
John J. Garstka
Director, Forces Transformation
Forces Transformation & Resources, Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy)
US Department of Defense (DoD)

Strategic leaders, when faced with a challenge or opportunity that cannot be effectively dealt with by employing existing leadership or management approaches, must often turn to the methodologies of organizational transformation. This keynote address will describe key insights relating to organizational transformation from both the public and private sectors. Insights developed from an examination of military transformation will be shared and a generalized model for large-scale organizational transformation that focuses on technology, process, organizational and people innovation will be presented.

John GarstkaJohn Garstka works in the office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Forces Transformation and Resources in the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense (Policy). In this capacity, he is responsible for the development and oversight of policy relating to the transformation of DoD forces. He is a recognized thought leader in the area of network centric operations and has written extensively and lectured globally on the impact of networking on the operational effectiveness of military organizations. Garstka has 23 years of experience working in positions of increased responsibility in the DoD and the commercial sector. From 1996 to 2002 he worked on the Joint Staff in the Directorate for Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems as a Chief Technology Officer and Science and Technology Advisor. From 2002 to 2006 he worked in the DoD Office of Force Transformation as Assistant Director for Concepts and Operations. He is a Distinguished Graduate of the US Air Force Academy, where he earned a BS degree in Mathematics in 1983. He also holds an MS degree in Engineering-Economic Systems from Stanford University, where he studied as a Hertz Fellow. 

Tuesday, November 6

Publishing in Operations Research and Making Money
Sridhar Tayur, Founder and CEO
SmartOps Corporation

Ford Distinguished Research Professor
Carnegie Mellon University

This talk will describe a feasible solution to the following “problem”: can one publish academic papers in top INFORMS journals while also making O(10^6) (and sometimes even O(10^7)) dollars annually? Four elements form the core of the solution: (1) choosing high impact avenues for providing OR applications; (2) identifying appropriate executive buyers; (3) negotiating a check-list of requirements that allow for publishing good papers expediently; and (4) avoiding the poor behavior that is typically associated with many corporate OR professionals. A by-product of this solution is improved teaching ratings with far less effort. Current efforts seek to find a solution that allows one to earn O(10^8) dollars/year while publishing in top INFORMS journals.

SridharTayurSridhar Tayur is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of SmartOps, a supply chain optimization software company that is the first Endorsed Business Solution of SAP AG, the largest provider of enterprise software in the world. SmartOps is rapidly growing its client list of Fortune 1000 and other top manufacturers and retailers. Tayur’s expertise in designing and applying algorithms provides SmartOps with software offerings that fill a persistent market need that current ERP, APS and procurement systems do not address. Since 2000, SmartOps has worked closely in a variety of supply chain optimization problems, and has imbedded the software as part of everyday use that currently manages and optimizes over 10B$ of inventory worldwide. Over 2B$ of value has been created at these companies. Over the past 15 years, Tayur has been a sought-after supply chain consultant and has helped implement supply chain optimization systems for Caterpillar, Intel, IBM, John Deere and General Electric. His project work has been reported in business periodicals, including an article in FORTUNE. Tayur has published in many scholarly publications (Operations Research, Management Science, Mathematical Programming, and more) and is co-editor of Quantitative Models for Supply Chain Management. He has won the Undergraduate Teaching Award and the George Leland Bach teaching award. He has been named a “Top Professor” in Business Week. He received his PhD in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University and his undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras.



Wednesday, November 7

The Evolution of Optimization in Business
Robert Bixby
Chief Science Officer
ILOG, Inc.
Noah Harding Professor Emeritus of Computational and Applied Mathematics
Research Professor of Management, Jones School of Management
Rice University

In his 1993 Morse Lecture at the TIMS/ORSA National Meeting in Chicago, George Nemhauser spoke on the topic of “The Age of Optimization.”  By “optimization” he meant linear and mixed-integer programming–a reasonable definition in the context of business applications. Mixed-integer programming in particular plays an increasingly dominant role in this domain; indeed, the range of integer-programming applications to key business issues is essentially limitless. In the early 1990s there was a great deal of optimism about linear programming, and a sense that the solvability of linear programs was beginning to disappear as a roadblock. Combined with greatly improved data availability, the emergence of modern modeling languages, and improvements in computing hardware, there was among many, including this speaker, a belief that optimization had entered into a new age. But had it?

The optimism about linear programming turned out to be justified. Given massive performance improvements in linear programming solvers, it is now rarely a roadblock. Around 1998, general-purpose integer programming codes also began acceleration in performance that continues unabated. But what has this meant about the real role of optimization in the management sciences? What has changed, where have we seen successes, and what are the primary hurdles to optimization’s becoming one of the standard approaches in addressing core business problems? In this talk I will attempt to give at least one person’s view on these issues.

RobertBixbyRobert Bixby co-founded CPLEX Optimization, Inc., in 1987. CPLEX was acquired by ILOG, Inc., in 1997, and Bixby has since served in various capacities at ILOG. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer of ILOG and General Manager of the ILOG Semiconductor Business Division. He was Chairman of the Mathematical Programming Society, and was formerly editor-in-chief of the journal Mathematical Programming. Bixby has authored over 50 scholarly publications. He became a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1997, received the Humboldt Senior Scientist Award in 1992 and the Mathematical Programming Society Beale-Orchard-Hayes Prize for Computational Mathematical Programming in 2000. He earned a BS in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the University of California-Berkeley and a PhD from Cornell University.

Plenary & Refreshments
Wednesday, November 7
5:10pm-6:00pm: Plenary and refreshments (beer, soda and snacks will be served)
6:00pm-7:00pm: Reception, continued refreshments

OR is Everywhere!
Some OR HumOR and HistORy

Peter nORden
Adjunct Professor
Columbia University

Peter NordenEven if you are not a formidable time-series extrapolatOR or comfortable with ORthogonal algORithms, do join our discussion to create a cORnucopia of a plethORa of “embedded OR” in this short panel session. Bring along any memories or examples of your experiences with our community’s histORy of OR research and practice. This will be followed by a casual reception, with fun food, snacks and beer/wine (stopping just shORt of a snORt of pORt!).


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