Jim Orlin — final impressions from an impressionist
It’s Wednesday, and I will soon be heading home. Here are some final impressions of the conference, in no particular order.
- Whereas 30 years ago, I wanted to spend my time talking to established figures in OR, this conference, I seemed to spend at least as much time talking to young researchers. Talking to people of my own cohort often leads to talking of the past. Talking to younger researchers leads more often of talking of the future.
- Question: If networking is “to cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally”, what is it called if you are the one who can help? Is it “being networked”?
- One of the advantages of being an “old timer” is that my opinions are automatically taken more seriously; or perhaps, others are giving me the impression that they are taking my ideas seriously. If it is the later, it still feels good.
- INFORMS seems to be doing very well. And I’m not saying this just because Rina Schneur (who did her dissertation under my supervision) has been an outstanding President of INFORMS.
- “Analytics” is hot. It’s a great opportunity for our profession. It’s also an opportunity for other professions who compete with us. So, we do need to keep sharp and constantly improve.
- There are a large number of really smart young researchers.
- The field of networks is amazingly popular. I take no credit for its surge in popularity, but I am willing to ride the crest of the waves.
- A colleague described two types of attendees of a conference: impressionists vs. ‘detail lovers’. (Actually, I forget the name of the second type, and inserted something similar.) The impressionists want to hear the high level aspects of a talk, and will fill in many details themselves. If the talk leaves a sufficiently positive impression, they will seek out the paper. The ‘detail loves’ expect more details in the talk, and are disappointed if the talks stay at a high level. I am clearly an impressionist. This is the first time that I ever felt a common attitude of mind with Manet, Monet, and Van Gogh.
- The quality of the presentations at this conference were on average much higher than the quality 25 years ago.
- The mix of theory and applications is much better than the mix was 25 years ago. At that point, the talks tended to be “theory or applications.” Now there are many more talks that involve both.
- Going to a conference with 4,400 other people is much more enjoyable than I ever would have predicted years ago.
- The INFORMS conferences are very well organized. We can all be proud of our professional society.
- Some blog posts end abruptly.