INFORMS Minneapolis — A Feast for the Mind and the Soul

by Anna Nagurney on October 8th, 2013

Those of us who are lucky enough to be at INFORMS in Minneapolis can’t help but be inspired — from the plenary talks at which we have tasted and savored the latest research from the likes of OR/MS superstars Professor Larry Wein of Stanford, Professor Dimitris Bertsimas of MIT, and our INFORMS President, Dr. Anne Robinson, of Verizon, to mention just a few, to the invited sessions as well as contributed ones. The professionalism of the talks has been great.

Our minds are percolating with new research ideas and how we can put OR/MS and analytics into practice.

As Professor Bertsimas said in his plenary talk today, which was on healthcare analytics and inspired by personal losses, never has our profession had more opportunities with the wealth of data that is now available, the models that we have and are developing, as well as algorithms, and applications. A theme has definitely been that of doing good (or great things) with our great tools. From healthcare to the environment and transportation to even social media analytics now is probably the most exciting time for our profession in our lifetimes.

In addition to the intellectual stimulation that we have had here at our great annual INFORMS Conference, there have been special events that I have tried to capture the spirit of in blog postings over the past few days.

Today, for example, we had the WORMS (Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences) luncheon, which is no longer a well-kept secret. Not only was the meal — chicken, salad, tortellini, and veggies with a variety of cupcakes for dessert (including red velvet ones) delicious and the conversations so pleasant, with quite a few males in attendance, but we had the honor of recognizing Professor Kathryn Stecke of UTDallas with the 2013 WORMS Award. Professor Laura McLay of U. of Wisconsin Madison, our WORMS President, was the speaker and a great master of ceremonies.

Such venues serve as terrific outlets for support of one another and Dr. Eric Wolman was also recognized.

Judging from the smiles on the faces of the conferees (thanks to all the universities hosting receptions last night as well), and the warmth of the sun today, this conference has been a huge success and it is not even over yet.

Many thanks to the organizers and to the INFORMS staff for the great conference organization and logistics!

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