2016 Franz Edelman Competition

edelman-galaThe Franz Edelman competition attests to the contributions of operations research and analytics in both the profit and non-profit sectors. Since its inception, cumulative benefits from Edelman finalist projects has topped the $240 billion mark. Edelman finalist teams have improved organizational efficiency, increased profits, brought better products to consumers, helped foster peace negotiations, and saved lives. The purpose of the Franz Edelman competition is to bring forward, recognize and reward outstanding examples of operations research, management science, and advanced analytics in practice in the world.

Finalists will compete for the top prize in this “super bowl” of O.R. practice, showcasing analytics projects that had major impacts on their client organizations. The competition takes place on Monday, April 11 in the Palm Room and is open to all conference registrants.

2016 Finalists

•   360i for “360i’s Digital Nervous System”
360i manages paid search ads on behalf of some of the largest advertisers in the world. Management requires developing ad copy, allocating budgets and generating bids for a second price auction across millions of keywords, seasonality, geographies, device types and audience segments. To ensure we buy the right click for our clients every time, 360i has built a technology suite which is unique in the industry and includes natural language processing that puts keywords together with the right ad copy and landing pages to maximize relevance to the consumer; Advanced forecasting and optimization to make sure budgets are allocated where and when they are needed; Predictive bidding that uses linguistic similarity as a proxy for performance correlation between keywords to calculate accurate bids for keywords with sparse data; And performance monitoring which unscrambles the opaque second price auction to tackle campaign performance issues before they occur. The system has been central to 360i winning multiple awards including Google’s “Marketing Machine” award, OMMA magazine’s “Search Agency of the Year” award and Forrester’s recognition of 360i as the number one digital search agency. Most importantly, application of advanced Operations Research techniques has generated $1B in incremental revenue for 360i’s paid search clients.

•   Asociación Nacional de Fútbol Profesional (ANFP) for “Operations Research Transforms Scheduling of Chilean Soccer Leagues and South American World Cup Qualifiers”
For the past 11 years, the Chilean Professional Soccer Association (ANFP) has applied Operations Research (O.R.) techniques to schedule soccer leagues in Chile. Using integer programming, ANFP decides which matches are played in each round taking into account various operational and other considerations that include keeping costs in check and providing exciting tournaments for fans. So far, about 50 tournaments have been scheduled using this O.R. approach. Its overall direct economic impact is estimated to be around $59 million, including reductions in broadcaster operating costs, growth in soccer pay-TV subscriptions, increased ticket revenue and lower travel costs for the teams. In addition, this application of OR has produced significant non-economic impacts. First, accommodating team requirements and sporting criteria has improved process transparency and schedule fairness, increasing the fans’ interest in local professional tournaments; second, due to their high portability, these techniques have also been used to schedule sports leagues in other countries as well as the South American Qualifiers for the 2018 Soccer World Cup. Furthermore, the models and methods used in this application have been disseminated widely, helping promote OR as an effective tool for approaching practical problems through outreach activities that have reached thousands of high school and university students in four countries and millions of general-audience TV viewers and internet users.

•   BNY Mellon for “Transition State and End State Optimization Used in the BNY Mellon U.S. Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure Reform Program”
BNY Mellon U.S. Tri-Party Repo Infrastructure Reform Program developed Transition and End State Optimization to solve collateral management challenges, to minimize intraday credit exposure and to minimize clients’ liquidity usage. Rebalancing, Continuous Portfolio Optimization (CPO) and the CPO Settlement Algorithm process $1.8 Trillion clients’ collateral daily and helped reduce 97% intraday credit risk in BNY Mellon’s U.S Tri-Party Repo market.

•   The New York City Police Department (NYPD) for “Domain Awareness System (DAS)”
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is the largest state or local police force in the U.S., charged with securing New York City from crime and terrorism. The NYPD’s Domain Awareness System (DAS) is a citywide network of sensors, databases, devices, software, and infrastructure that informs decision-making by delivering analytics and tailored information to officers’ smartphones and precinct desktops. Development of the DAS began in earnest in 2008; since then, the NYPD has used the DAS to employ a unique combination of analytics and information technology, including pattern recognition, machine learning, and data visualization. DAS is used throughout the NYPD and the DAS software has been sold to other agencies, bringing in revenue for New York City. Through improving the efficiency of the NYPD’s staff, the DAS has an estimated savings of $50 million per year. Most importantly, the NYPD has used the DAS to combat terrorism and improve crime-fighting effectiveness.

•   UPS for “UPS On Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation (Orion) Project”
UPS, the leading logistics provider in the world, and long known for its penchant for efficiency, embarked on a long journey to streamline and modernize its Pickup and Delivery Operations in 2003. This journey resulted in a suite of systems that are collectively known as Package Flow technologies (PFT), and an advanced optimization system known as ORION (On Road Integrated Optimization and Navigation). ORION uses the data foundation of PFT to provide an optimized manifest to its drivers so that they can meet the complex demands of providing service. Costing $250 million to build and deploy, ORION is expected to save UPS $300 to $400 million annually. By building efficient routes and reducing the miles driven, and fuel consumption, ORION also contributes to UPS’s sustainability efforts by reducing the CO2 emissions by 100,000 tons annually. ORION provides the foundation for a new generation of advanced planning systems for UPS. Because of its sheer size and scope, it has come to be regarded as one of the largest operations research projects in the world.

•   U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) for “Bayesian Networks for U.S. Army Electronics Equipment Diagnostic Applications: CECOM Equipment Diagnostic Analysis Tool, Virtual Logistics Assistance Representative”
Soldiers in war zones depend on complex weapon systems and advanced technologies. Moreover, in combat conditions, the resources available to support operation and maintenance of these systems are minimal. An important constraint is time, as transporting technical experts to and from combat outposts is cumbersome. Also, technical experts face the same battlefield risks as soldiers. CECOM has developed a suite of systems, named Virtual Logistics Assistance Representative (VLAR), to maximize self-reliance at combat outposts. In this paper, we discuss the operations research methods that underpin VLAR, at the heart of which lies Causal Bayesian belief networks. We outline the methods we use to translate scientific theory into accessible applications, the processes that optimize Army tactical electrical power grids, and the intuitive soldier interface that is common to all VLAR products. VLAR is changing the Army’s sustainment paradigm by applying artificial intelligence to equipment diagnostics and electrical power grid optimization. Through the end of 2015, we estimate that VLAR and Headquarters Fuel Optimization have saved the Army $35.4M from an investment of $9.8M, a benefit to cost ratio of 3.6. During this time the elimination of approximately 360,000 helicopter or ground vehicle movements has greatly reduced the risk of improvised explosive device and attacks, preventing roughly 4,500 casualties (killed and wounded). We project additional savings of $222M from an investment of $60M by the end of 2020, a benefit to cost ratio of 3.7. During this period, we project the elimination of 900,000 helicopter or ground vehicle movements and 11,000 transport casualties an indirect savings of $22B in long-term medical costs. (Bilmes, 2013).