INFORMS Annual Conference  

INFORMS Annual Meeting 2012, Phoenix, AZ, October 14-17

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A Busy Tuesday

by Paul Rubin on October 17th, 2012

With four technical sessions, the Analytics Certification reception, the general reception and some stimulating discussions with colleagues, Tuesday was quite the day.

It started for me with the TA17 session on spreadsheet modeling, in which I had a chance to serve on a panel with three other presenters, including Dan Fylstra of Frontline Systems (and, more relevantly, one of the pioneers behind Visicalc, the seminal spreadsheet). My job, as cleanup hitter, was to be the resident skeptic. Dan applied a little presenter jujitsu by ending his segment with a quote from the abstract of my presentation, which he then modified to express his take (with which, oddly enough, I agree).

TB22 had the title ” Branching in Mixed-Integer Programming I”. Fascinating stuff, right? The room was pretty close to packed! When large numbers of people are geeking out on branching strategies, you must be at INFORMS.

A productive “working” lunch and two more sessions later there was highly informative information session (followed by wine and cheese, hence my presence) on the new analytics certification program. If you’re interested, keep an eye out for further communications from INFORMS via the usual channels (OR/MS Today and Analytics magazines, e-mail from the mother ship, …). I don’t think I would qualify to sit for the exam (lack of relevant experience), but that’s fine; I have the only certifications I need to be a retiree (gray hair and knees that make crackling sounds when I stand up).

That brought me to the general reception, the theme of which seemed to be “compete with Irv Lustig for biggest hat”. The food was good (and plentiful), and the band was playing my kind of music. One highlight was a discussion with an animated bartender well under half my age about the fate of the Temptations. I always enjoy meeting young people discerning enough to groove to real music.

Some stimulating conversation during and after the reception (yes, it was possible to be heard over the band … if you sat outside the ballroom} capped off the evening. I hope everyone else had as good a day – and I hope those of you sitting near the band retain some hearing.

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