Plenary & Keynote Presentations

Pavel Kabát (VIDEO)
Anne G. Robinson
Lawrence M. Wein, OMEGA RHO Distinguished Lecture (VIDEO)
Mark van Oven
Edelman 2013 Reprise (VIDEO)
Dimitris Bertsimas (VIDEO)
Pascal Van Hentenryck, IFORS Distinguished Lecture (VIDEO)
Wagner Prize Presentation 2013 (VIDEO)
UPS George D. Smith Prize - 2013 Winner
Guillermo Gallego


Sunday, October 6

Welcome & Plenary



Anne G. Robinson, President, INFORMS
Director, Supply Chain Strategy and Analytics, Verizon Wireless


Benefits of Systems Science for Policy Support

Pavel Kabát
Director/CEO, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Narrowly focused, single-disciplinary science alone cannot adequately underpin policies and solutions to resolve major sustainability challenges. We must rap­idly refocus intellectual and economic investments toward multi-scale, integrated, interdisciplinary ap­proaches that consider social, economic and environ­mental aspects, that look across and between borders and sectors, and that identify feedbacks or the co-ben­efits of a policy or management decision, before it is made. One example of this “systems” approach is the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), a multiyear, multidiscipli­nary study (coordinated by IIASA). The GEA links en­ergy to climate, air quality, human health and mortal­ity, economic growth, urbanization, water, land use and other factors. The GEA scenarios find that energy access for all (by 2050) is possible with co-benefits of limiting warming to 2°C, improving air quality and hu­man health, and stimulating economic growth within a green economy framework.

Realizing the sustainability goals will require investment in integrated analyses to fully understand the Earth system (human and natural). This must be enabled by substantial growth in public-private part­nerships that stimulate and fund collaboration be­tween social and natural scientists and that engage key stakeholders and the user community at all stages of the research cycle–from inception to implementation.

Pavel KabátPavel Kabát is Director and Chief Executive Officer of International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He is also Professor of Earth System Science at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He has over 25 years’ experience leading interdisciplinary and international research teams investigating global environmental change, with focus on climate hydrology and water cycles. He is author and co-author of over 200 refereed publications, including nine books, and co-editor of six special issues of peer reviewed international journals. Between 1994 and 2010, Dr. Kabát chaired several Scientific Steering Committees of the major global environmental change programs, dealing with both the physical and the biogeochemical aspects of the earth system. He is a co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as one of the Lead Authors of the IPCC, co-recipient of The Zayed International Prize for the Environment (2006) as one of the authors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and a recipient of the Dahlem Foundation International Prize (Berlin, 1998) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre Prize (Maryland, USA 1997).




Advanced Analytics: Empowering Operations Research

Anne G. Robinson
Director, Supply Chain Strategy and Analytics, Verizon Wireless

Analytics, especially data analytics, has been the focal point of discussions in board rooms and at C-level meetings for the last few years. From a multinational consumer electronics corporation Best Buy to a retail chain Target, from a telecommunications service company Verizon to networking giant Cisco, almost every leading global brand has the desire to crunch data into knowledge, and ultimately into profits and improved customer service by advanced analytics. The successes of companies like Google and Amazon, which have achieved turning data into gold, are not only shaping our daily lives, but also disrupting dominant business models in every industry.

Recent advances in information system capabilities, like abundance and inexpensive data storage, cloud based solutions and distributed computing paradigms have opened new possibilities for collecting and processing data at an unprecedented volume and speed. This data tsunami, along with advanced computing and analysis capabilities provide Operations Research professionals with innovative ways to build and validate their models, and to communicate results and insights to upper management. The abundance of data and the increased confidence in analytics enable researchers to explore unchartered territories and to develop and test exciting new models and theories. As the INFORMS community, we have the right people both in the academia and in practice, the assets and the reputation (i) to champion and flourish the analytics movement, (ii) to promote and standardize analytics education, and (iii) to pioneer certification in analytics. During these electrifying times, we should enjoy the attention of top executives and embrace analytics to grow our community. Analytics is not diluting our field, but rather empowering Operations Research.

Anne G. RobinsonAnne G. Robinson is the Director of Supply Chain Strategy and Analytics for Verizon Wireless. Her team is responsible for leading strategic efforts across the Supply Chain organization, leveraging advanced analytics to implement processes and procedures that lead to improved product life cycle management, more efficient network equipment utilization, working capital optimization, and cost reduction. Prior to joining Verizon Wireless, Robinson spent several years with Cisco Systems where her responsibilities included managing advanced analytics, business intelligence, and performance management teams across the supply chain. She and her team were also responsible for evaluating and improving the distribution inventory network as well as establishing a statistical forecasting capability for predicting demand. As the driving force for many foundational and cross-functional process innovations, she helped establish Cisco's presence and recognition as a leader in business intelligence and analytics, including being inducted into the balanced scorecard hall of fame. A PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, Anne is the President of INFORMS. She is a popular industry speaker, has served on several advisory boards including the SAS Analytical Customer Advisory Board and was a topical editor for the Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science. A frequent tweeter, you can follow Dr. Robinson @agrobins.


Monday, October 7



OMEGA RHO Distinguished Lecture

Data-Driven Operation Research Analyses in the Public Sector


Lawrence M. Wein, Professor, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University


Lawrence M. Wein will describe several recent projects in the public sector, including screening and treatment for childhood obesity, allocating blood for transfusions, optimizing ballistic imaging performance using spatiotemporal crime data, allocating ready-to-use food to children in developing countries, and optimizing the biometric aspects of India's universal identification (UIDAI) program. Each project started with a large longitudinal data set that guided the mathematical modeling, and resulted in a recommended policy that outperforms the current policy. For each project, he will briefly describe the problem motivation, the data set, the mathematical model (which was embedded into an optimization problem), the statistical analysis required to calibrate the model, the numerical results from solving the optimization problem, and the policy implications.


Lawrence WeinLawrence M. Wein is the Jeffrey S. Skoll Professor of Management Science at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. He received a BS in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering from Cornell University in 1979 and a PhD in Operations Research at Stanford University in 1988. He was a professor at MIT's Sloan School of Management from 1988 to 2002. His research interests are in manufacturing and public health. Early in his career, he worked on heavy traffic analysis of queueing models for manufacturing systems, and his research on workload regulating release was implemented widely in the semiconductor industry. Later he worked on a variety of health problems related to kidney transplants, and treatments for HIV (which led to a successful multi-center clinical trial on drug-switching protocols), cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and influenza. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, much of his research focused on homeland security, including bioterror attacks involving smallpox, anthrax and botulinum toxin, preventing nuclear weapons from entering ports and cities, preventing terrorists from entering at ports of entry and between ports of entry, and the shelter vs. evacuation decision after a nuclear blast. His more recent work addresses pandemic influenza, post-traumatic stress disorder in Operation Iraqi Freedom soldiers, and space debris. He was Editor-in-Chief of Operations Research from 2000 to 2005. He has been awarded a Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Erlang Prize, the Koopman Prize, the INFORMS Expository Writing Award, the Philip McCord Morse Lectureship, the INFORMS President’s Award, the Frederick W. Lanchester Prize, the George E. Kimball Medal, and a best paper award from Risk Analysis. He is an INFORMS Fellow, a M&SOM Fellow and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

OMEGA RHO, the official Honor Society of INFORMS, was founded in 1976 to recognize superior scholarship and encourage leadership in operations research, management science, and related disciplines. The society has 40 active collegiate chapters, more than 5,000 student and faculty members and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. In addition to sponsoring OMEGA RHO Distinguished Lectures at INFORMS Annual and International meetings, OMEGA RHO provides financial support to the annual INFORMS Colloquium. Honorary Membership in OMEGA RHO is bestowed upon individuals who provide leadership and extraordinary support for the encouragement of operations research and management science through their professional activities. Prior to delivering the OMEGA RHO Distinguished Lecture, Lawrence M. Wein will be inducted as an Honorary Member of OMEGA RHO.




The Physics of the Target Guest

Mark von Oven


Director of Merchandising Analytics, Reporting and R&D, Target Corporation

Over the course of the last few centuries, humanity has made astounding progress in the field of physics. The concept of “atom” was introduced to us by Democritus, while Newton introduced us to gravity. Maxwell created his famous equations which unified electricity with magnetism and of course, who could forget Einstein and his creation of his theory of special relativity. Each of these scientific feats are absolutely amazing in their own right and yet still today, theoretical physicists continue to push the boundaries of science with new discoveries and continued attempts at a Theory of Everything…a theory that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena to predict an outcome. Stephen Hawking once said that such a theory would give us the ability to “read the mind of God.” Fortunately for us, all we’re trying to do is figure out how to best serve the Target Guest.

In the retail landscape we’ve made significant progress over the past few decades in the world of Business Intelligence & Analytics (BI&A) at Target. Can our extensive work in pricing, promotion, product and placement be used as input to a Unified Theory of Loyalty that explains why she buys what she buys and where she chooses to buy it from? Does such a thing even exist? With new capabilities like Big Data and increasingly growing venues like Social & Mobile to capture new guest data, will we finally have comprehensive inputs to such an equation? Target continues its analytical journey and this presentation will explain how BI&A plays a key role in that evolution, what seems to be working well and how all of this just might fit into the concept of a Grand Unified Theory.


Lawrence WeinMark von Oven is Director of Merchandising Analytics, Reporting and R&D at Target Corporation in Minneapolis, MN. Prior to joining Target he spent 14 years at Procter & Gamble, most recently as a leader in North America Business Intelligence Customer Analytics. Mark obtained his bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Florida and an MBA from Xavier University.





Reprise of 2013 Edelman Award-Winning Presentation

Delta Programme - Economically Efficient Standards to Protect the Netherlands Against Flooding


CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis: Carel Eijgenraam
Deltares: Jarl Kind, Carlijn Bak, Jaap Kwadijk
Tilburg University: Ruud Brekelmans, Dick den Hertog
Delft University of Technology: Kees Roos
HKV Consultants: Matthijs Duits
Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment: Pieter Vermeer
Delta Programme: Wim Kuijken

In the Netherlands, flood protection is a matter of national survival. In 2008, the Second Delta Committee recommended that legal flood protection standards be increased at least tenfold to compensate for population and economic growth since 1953, which would have involved dike improvement investments estimated at 11.5 billion Euros. A research group was charged with developing efficient flood protection standards in a more objective way. Mixed integer nonlinear programming was used to demonstrate the efficiency of increasing the legal standards only in three critical regions. Monte Carlo analysis confirmed the robustness of this outcome. These results were accepted by the State Secretary in 2012 as basis for legislation. This successful application of O.R. yields not only a highly significant increase in protection for these regions, but also some 7.8 billion Euros in cost savings. The methods could be used in decision-making for other flood-prone areas worldwide.


The Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences calls out, recognizes and rewards outstanding, high-impact applications of OR/MS. Each year, six to seven finalists compete in the “Super Bowl” of O.R. in practice. The 2013 finalists include The Kroger Company, Baosteel, Chevron Corporation, Dell, Inc. and McKesson Corp. In this keynote, the first-place Delta Programme team will reprise their winning presentation.


Tuesday, October 8



Health Care Analytics

Dimitris Bertsimas, Boeing Professor of Operations Research, Co-Director of the Operations Research Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In this talk we present an analytics approach to personalized diabetes management and the design of clinical trials for cancer. In the first part of the talk, we present a system to make personalized lifestyle and health decisions for diabetes management, as well as for general health and diet management. In particular, we address the following components of the system: (a) efficiently learning preferences through a dynamic questionnaire that accounts for human behavior; (b) modeling blood glucose behavior and updating these models to match individual measurements; and (c) using the learned preferences and blood glucose models to generate an overall diet and exercise plan using mixed-integer robust optimization. We have implemented our system as an online application, which we demonstrate. (Joint work with Allison O' Hair.)

In the second part of the talk, we propose an analytics approach for the analysis and design of clinical trials that provides insights into what is the best currently available drug combination to treat a particular form of cancer and how to design new clinical trials that can discover improved drug combinations. We develop semi-automated extraction techniques to build a comprehensive database of data from clinical trials. We use this database to develop statistical models from earlier trials that are capable of predicting the survival and toxicity of the combination of the drugs used, when the drugs used have been seen in earlier trials, but in different combinations. Then, using these statistical models, we develop optimization models that select novel treatment regimens that could be tested in clinical trials, based on the totality of data available on existing combinations. We also present concrete models for gastric cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer death worldwide. Ultimately, our approach offers promise for improving life expectancy and quality of life for cancer patients at low cost. (Joint work with Allison O' Hair, Stephen Relyea and John Silberholz).


Dimitris Bertsimas is currently the Boeing Professor of Operations Research and the co-director of the Operations Research Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece in 1985, an MS in Operations Research at MIT in 1987, and a PhDin Applied Mathematics and Operations Research at MIT in 1988. His research interests include analytics and their applications, especially in a variety of industries with particular emphasis in healthcare. He has co-authored more than 150 scientific papers and has co-authored three graduate level textbooks. He is currently department editor in Optimization for Management Science and
former area editor in Operations Research in Financial Engineering. He has supervised 51 doctoral students and is currently supervising 12 others. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, has received several research awards including the Farkas prize (2008), the Erlang prize (1996), the SIAM prize in optimization (1996), the Bodossaki prize (1998) and the Presidential Young Investigator award (1991-1996).




IFORS Distinguished Lecture

Computational Disaster Management: The Role of OR/MS

Pascal Van Hentenryck, Optimization Research Group Leader, National ICT Australia;
Professor, University of Melbourne

The frequency and intensity of natural disasters has significantly increased over the past decades, and this trend is predicted to continue. Natural disasters have dramatic impacts on human lives and on the socio-economic welfare of entire regions. They are identified as one of the major risks of the East Asia and Pacific regions. Dramatic events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Tohoku tsunami have also highlighted the need for OR/MS tools in preparing, mitigating, responding and recovering from disasters. I will present an overview of some recent progress in using OR/MS for disaster management and, in particular, in relief distribution, power system restoration, and evacuation planning and scheduling. I will argue that OR/MS has a significant role to play in all aspects of disaster management, from policy formulation to mitigation, operational response and recovery, using examples of systems deployed during hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Moreover, I will indicate that disaster management raises significant computational challenges for OR/MS technologies which must optimize over complex infrastructures in uncertain environments. Finally, I will conclude by identifying a number of fundamental research issues for OR/MS in this space.

Lawrence WeinPascal Van Hentenryck leads the Optimization Research Group at National ICT Australia (NICTA), the center of excellence for ICT research in Australia. The optimization research group at NICTA pursues fundamental research in optimization, simulation and algorithmic decision theory, as well as applied research focused on logistics and supply chains, energy systems and disaster management. He is also a professor at the University of Melbourne, where he teaches a massively online course on discrete optimization. Van Hentenryck is the recipient of two honorary degrees and is a fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artifical Intelligence. He was awarded the 2002 INFORMS ICS Award for research excellence at the intersection of operations research and computer science, the 2006 ACP Award for research excellence in constraint programming, and the 2010-2011 Philip J. Bray Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at Brown University. Van Hentenryck is the author of five MIT Press books and has developed a number of innovative optimization systems that are widely used in academia and industry. His research on disaster management has been deployed to help federal agencies in the United States mitigate the effects of hurricanes on coastal areas.



2013 Daniel H. Wagner Practice Prize Winner Announcement and Reprise

Click here to view the presentation


If you want to see some high quality presentations and learn about some clever practical applications of operations research and advanced analytics, plan to attend the distinguished, international Wagner Prize competition sessions on Monday (8 to 9:30am, 11am to 12:30pm, and 1:30 to 3pm in auditorium room 3, convention center).

Today, in this keynote, we learn which of the six competing finalist teams won first place. And we see a reprise of their winning presentation.

The Daniel H. Wagner Prize is awarded for a paper and presentation that describe a real-world, successful application of operations research or advanced analytics. The prize criteria emphasize innovative, elegant mathematical modeling and clear exposition.

The six finalist presentations on Monday introduce these applications and associated innovative methods: schedule the German basketball league; manage customer-relations services at an Italian energy company; distribute print magazines and newspapers in Israel; oversee process consolidation, operations, staffing, and new-facility investment in the emergency departments of hospitals; control outgoing loading and routing for the manufacturing company Webb Wheel; and determine water distribution pressures in the Valley of the Moon water district of California.

The prize is in memory of the late Dr. Daniel H. Wagner. While president of his own practice-oriented consulting firm, Dr. Wagner brought many high-quality mathematicians into the operations research community, leading to significant applications for U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and many other organizations. The prize honors Dr. Wagner by emphasizing qualities he respected in his colleagues: the ability to innovate and to communicate clearly and effectively.


Wednesday, October 9



Reprise of 2013 UPS George D. Smith Prize Award-Winning Presentation

Naval Postgraduate School: Robert Dell, Walter DeGrange, Ronald Fricker
The Naval Postgraduate School's (NPS) Operations Research (OR) department was awarded the 2013 UPS George D. Smith Prize for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of operations research, management science or analytics. NPS began offering its degree program in OR in 1951, making it the first OR degree program in the United States. The program is inextricably linked to its sponsor, the U.S. Department of Defense, in a unique relationship that ensures NPS students and faculty are focused on critical and important problems facing the military. Our students bring first-hand knowledge of the challenges our organization faces and leave as OR practitioners to immediately meet these challenges. In this presentation, we demonstrate our:

  • strong ties to our "industry," the Department of Defense (DoD);
  • commitment to effective and innovative preparation of our students to be good practitioners of OR;
  • focus on teaching, demonstrating, and expanding competence in OR practice, by our students, our alumni, and our faculty; and,
  • impact on the practice of OR in the DoD, particularly how those impacts have and continue to improve DoD operational efficiency and effectiveness.

Lawrence WeinRobert F. Dell is Professor and Chair of Operations Research at the Naval Postgraduate School where he has been an active contributor to the OR Department's accomplishments since joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1990. He has received research support from every uniformed service for topics ranging from naval capital planning to army base realignment and closure. He has also applied optimization in the private sector in areas ranging from production scheduling to supply chain design. His recent awards include a 2011 Department of the Army Dr. Wilbur B. Payne Award for Excellence in Analysis, a 2011 Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award, the 2008 Military Operations Research Society David Rist Prize, and the 2007 Military Operations Research Society Richard H. Barchi Prize.

The UPS George D. Smith Prize recognizes an academic department or program for effective and innovative preparation of students to be good practitioners of O.R., management science or analytics.




Pricing and Product Design in a Data-Driven Economy

Guillermo Gallego
Liu Family Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia University


We live in an increasingly data-intensive economy in which understanding customers, designing products and pricing them correctly are crucial capabilities for survival and profitability.   So-called “Big Data” in the form of massive data bases specifying which customers have bought what products at what prices in the past is enabling deeper, data-driven understanding of customer behavior that was previously available.  In this talk we discuss efforts by companies like Hewlett Packard to use big data to understand customer’s buying and product substitution patterns under competition.  We also report efforts to design and price bundles as branded products by companies like Air Canada, and efforts to offer consumption and fulfillment options by companies such as United Airlines and Hilton Hotels and Resorts. 

Management science, operations research and data analytics are playing increasingly important roles in the fundamental business decisions of designing and pricing products to meet customer needs.   We will discuss how companies can mine sales, prices and product attributes to develop product similarity metrics to identify products whose prices are out of range, products that are candidate for discontinuance, and opportunities for the introduction of new products.   We will further describe advances in assortment and price optimization that rely on discrete choice models.  We will also discuss how these can be combined to enable companies to better design and price bundles, warranties, and ancillary services.   Finally, we will discuss how these capabilities can be used to inform novel approaches to product and service design that rely on real options that allow sellers to hedge against demand uncertainty while providing tangible benefits to buyers.

Guillermo GallegoGuillermo Gallego joined Columbia University's IEOR Department in 1988, where he has been conducting research in the areas of inventory theory, supply chain management, revenue management, and dynamic pricing. He was inducted as an INFORMS Fellow in 2012 and as an MSOM Fellow in 2013. He has received many awards including the INFORMS Revenue Management Section Prize (2005), the Revenue Management Historical Prize (2011) and the Revenue Management Practice Prize (2012). He has published influential papers in the leading journals in Management Science and Operations Research and has served in a variety of editorial positions for many of the same journals. His work has been supported by numerous industrial and government grants.

Gallego has consulted for Hewlett Packard, IBM, Lucent, Nomis Solutions, and Sabre Airline Solutions. He has also worked with government agencies such as the National Research Council, the National Science Foundation and the Ireland Development Agency. He spent his 1996–97 sabbatical at Stanford University and was a visiting scientist at the IBM Watson Research Center from 1999 to 2003. He was the chairman of the IEOR Department at Columbia University from July 2002 to June 2008. He received his MS and PhD in Operations Research from Cornell and a BA in Mathematics from the University of California at San Diego.