San Francisco 2014
blog home Home
Nov 9 14

The Next Fifty Years of Decision Analysis

by Freeman Marvin

2014-11-09 09.44.44The DA track looking at what is coming for decision makers in the coming decades. Fascinating implications for our discipline. Ron Howard, one of the founders of decision analysis, joined in the conversation.

Nov 9 14

How Good Does It Get

by Freeman Marvin

2014-11-08 17.20.24Wondering around the block after arriving at the Hilton,  I remembered why I love San Francisco.

Nov 8 14

Best thing to do on a Saturday afternoon in San Francisco!

by Burcu B. Keskin

I can hear your answer: of course it is to attend a vendor workshop!!

I am at the IBM workshop. I appreciate all of the improvements software vendors do as it makes our lives as OR researchers and educators easier. Best way to learn about all of these improvements is to come to these workshops. If you miss it, you can always stop by at the exhibit hall and catch up with them.

Nov 8 14

Packing to travel

by Patrick Leach

The previous post reminded me of words to remember when traveling:  “Before going anywhere, lay out all the clothes you intend to take, and all the money you intend to take.  Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”

I travel a fair amount, and I live by this mantra.  I once traveled for two weeks in Russia and Kazakhstan (in February, no less) with nothing but carry-on luggage.  And no, I didn’t wear the same clothes every day.

Looking forward to the 50th Anniversary of DA Gala today, and the conference next week.

– Pat Leach

Nov 8 14

Getting packed and ready to go

by Harrison Schramm

How does the Five Minute Analyst pack for the Annual Meeting? It involves Clothes, computers, maps and… legos to go with my Wednesday Talk. Can’t wait to see everyone there!

Nov 8 14

Babies, laundry detergent, and more in San Francisco

by Polly Mitchell-Guthrie

My colleagues have begun heading toward San Francisco, and by Sunday a crowd of us from SAS will be there to talk about operations research as it relates to babies, laundry detergent, and many many more things.


On Sunday Emily Lada’s work with James Wilson (from North Carolina State University) and our colleague Anup Mokashi will be highlighted in a presentation on “Effective Simulation Warm-up for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.” (Session SB75). Jim Wilson will talk about how they used SAS Simulation Studio for discrete-event simulation in some incredibly exciting work with the neonatal intensive care unit at Duke Hospital. Emily is quite versatile – she blogged recently about how SAS has helped the North Carolina Sentencing Commission in using discrete-event simulation to help project prison populations.

On Monday Ivan Oliveira will be speaking on behalf of SAS in a Wagner Prize competition talk. The team also includes Rob Pratt and Ming Zhao from SAS, along with Nats Esquejo, Kevin Miller, Kevin Norwood from Procter & Gamble. Their presentation, “Statistical and Optimization Techniques for Laundry Portfolio Optimization at P&G” (Session MC29–Wagner Prize competition), will talk about use of statistical visualization and advanced mathematical programming to determine ingredient levels and product and process architecture for laundry detergents. We are all wishing them the best of luck in this competition.

I am chairing a session on Monday on the Whys, Hows, and Whats of Analytics Certification and another on Wednesday on Exposing Students to Practice with a Case Competition (where colleague Jeff Day is also speaking), but I will write more about those later, since those are both dear topics to me.

I look forward to catching up with friends from INFORMS at the Welcome Reception Sunday and General Reception on Tuesday, but in between I plan to attend receptions for the Analytics Section and the Certified Analytics Professional Program, since I’ve been very involved with both groups. The Analytics Section organized its largest-ever cluster of sessions, and I’ll start my conference off attending one jointly organized with CPMS on “Making the Connection Between Analytics and OR.” I look forward to checking out the new Analytics Maturity Model at their reception.

Down the hall from me Imre Pólik posted that the most important talk is on Wednesday, called “New Features and Improvements in SAS/OR 13.2” (Session WB43). Guess who the author is? 😉

If you want to see even more sessions to choose from, Ed Hughes has blogged about the full schedule of SAS-related talks at INFORMS on our spanking-new Operations Research with SAS blog, where you can stay tuned for topics like optimal wedding seat assignments to deal with Uncle Louie and other, more serious topics.

If you see my boss Radhika Kulkarni while there, be sure to congratulate her on having been named a 2014 INFORMS Fellow. We’re tickled pink for her!

SAS will have a booth in the exhibit hall if you’re there, so come by and see us. Looking forward to a great conference!

Image credit: Army Medicine// attribution creative commons

Nov 8 14

‘Tis the season!

by Susan Martonosi

No – not the holiday season (although stores haven’t wasted time replacing ghosts and goblins with turkeys and tinsel) — It’s INFORMS Annual Meeting season!

The Annual Meeting is a highlight for me every year because it is a chance to reconnect: former teachers, friends from grad school, friends and colleagues I’ve met through INFORMS, and now former students who have continued in the profession and themselves return to INFORMS each year.

Here are some highlights of the 2014 meeting that I’m eagerly anticipating:

Saturday – Teaching Effectiveness Colloquium – This colloquium is chaired by Eric Huggins of Fort Lewis College, and I’m honored to be one of the presenters.  I look forward to meeting with the 15-or-so participants and exchanging ideas about effective teaching with them.

Sunday – INFORM-ED Case Competition – This competition is chaired by Palaniappa Krishnan and features ten submissions this year, the authors of which will be presenting on Sunday!  Should be great fun to learn about innovative teaching cases.

Sunday – WORMS Business Meeting – As President of the Forum for Women in OR/MS, I warmly invite all of you to attend our Business Meeting on Sunday evening at 6:15PM.  We’ll discuss our new mentorship network and child care travel fund, and brainstorm initiatives to further advance women in the profession.

Monday – Coffee with a Member – INFORMS started the Coffee with a Member program last year to connect new Annual Meeting attendees with more experienced attendees to “show them the ropes”.  I have two “coffee breaks” scheduled and am looking forward to making new friends.

Tuesday – WORMS Events – The Forum on Women in OR/MS has several events scheduled for this Annual Meeting, including panel discussions, our annual luncheon (at which the WORMS Award for the Advancement of Women will be presented) and “Speed Networking” – bring your business cards and come ready to network!

Sadly, I leave Tuesday evening before the general reception so that I can teach bright and early Wednesday morning. And speaking of “bright and early”, I should sign off and rest up before the excitement begins tomorrow!

Nov 7 14

Remembering INFORMS Conferences in San Francisco of Seasons Past

by Anna Nagurney
Attendees and speakers from INFORMS 2005 in San Fran special sessions

Attendees and speakers from INFORMS 2005 in San Fran special sessions

For some INFORMS members, this will be their first such conference in San Francisco. For other more seasoned members, I am sure that they have fond memories of previous INFORMS conferences in San Francisco.

The above photo was taken at the 2005 INFORMS San Francisco conference that November at which I organized two sessions in honor of the 50th anniversary of the publication of the classic book by Beckmann, McGuire, and Winsten, “Studies in the Economics of Transportation.” Both Martin Beckmann and Bart McGuire were in attendance and McGuire passed away shortly thereafter. I posted all the talks in the sessions on the Supernetwork Center website.

Beckmann recently celebrated his 90th birthday and when I saw that Professor Dick Cottle is giving a keynote Honoring George B. Dantzig at 100 I was reminded of the ORSA/TIMS (what INFORMS was formerly known as) conference in San Francisco in 1992, at which I had a photo taken with George Dantzig that I treasure and always share with the students that I teach. For those with patience you can see it towards the bottom of the page here.

And, coincidentally, my very first ORSA/TIMS conference was back in 1984, in San Francisco in May (in those days we had 2 annual conferences per year). One of the papers that I presented then was with my dissertation advisor at Brown University, Professor Stella Dafermos, rest her soul.

One of the highlights of all these and other INFORMS conferences is the great people that we have the privilege of interacting with who have made such an impact and to whom, to paraphrase Professor Cottle, “we owe so much!”

Looking forward to making amazing new memories at this INFORMS Conference in San Francisco.

Safe travels, everyone, and see you soon!



Nov 6 14

California #INFORMS 2014 Calling

by Tarun Mohan Lal

I am getting really excited to attend the INFORMS annual conference 2014. The excitement is not only to learn from the amazingly insightful presentations at the conference, but also to connect with colleagues/friends and enjoy the warm pleasant weather in california to get ready for the harsh winters of Rochester, Minnesota. 🙂

 In anticipation of the conference, I  have already prepared my itienary for the conference. Have you?  As I was doing this, it  struck to me that I have indeed come a long way from the first time I attended the INFORMS annual conference, which was suprisingly only a couple of years back. The INFORMS conference is so BIG with multiple tracks and almost 5000 in attendance, it is very easy for beginners/freshers at the conference to feel lost and/or left out. Trust me I have been there.  Having said that I thought I will share a snipet of my schedule at the conference and follow it up with some suggestions for things to do at the conference. The  hope is that it will help each of you navigate through the conference and make it a great experience

My Schedule

  • Mentoring 7 students/new members –  this is possible through the resume review program organized by the placement committee or the coffee with member program. I love to do these because of my passion for students. In addition, it is an incredible opportunity to learn from them
  • Give 3 presentations – research topic, integration of analytics and panel discussion
  • Attend the award ceremony, welcome  and general reception to celebrate with winners that have made tremendous efforts to use, expand or apply OR and meet new folks that will be friends to look forward to meeting again at the 2015 conference
  • Attend the section and society meetings. I will be attending the Health applications society and Analytics section meeting in particular as these are in my areas of interest and I am hevily involved with these subdivisions of INFORMS
  • Attend officer breakfast, leadership luncheons and other focused activities
  • I am also excited and hope to sequeeze in as many practitioner focused presentations as possible at the conference. Thanks to INFORMS for summarizing this list for the practitioners out there


As you can see from above I seem to have a busy schedule that allows for attending presentations in addition to doing a wide variety of  other activities. Coming to suggestions to those of you new to the conference and also to everyone else that would like to make the best out of their time in San Francisco. Consider this list as a checklist as you are getting ready for the conference

  • Plan, Plan, Plan: Prepare your itinerary in advance so you dont get lost at the conference. Its big enough to be overwhelming so dont depend on making on the spot choices. Little time spent ahead of time is going to make a HUGE difference and serve you well
  • Dont be a geek: Sorry not being rude here but try to branch out from just attending presentations. Take the time to go for coffee, a drink or lunch/dinner with people you meet at the conference – informal setting helps build life long professional relations
  • Help others and let others Help you: Conferences are meant for networking and also to learn things you dont get to learn in academic setting. Students, find industry folks and learn soft skills like what it takes to make a change, communication etc from them. Industry and experienced attendees here is the time to train someone be like you. For all you know you might find potential employees in this crew
  • Make Friends: In 5000 attendees, I am pretty confident there will be atleast 30%  that  probably belong to your interest group, or are at the same place as you in their career. Great group to make friends with because guess what y’all will be coming back to next year’s conference
  • Raise your hand/Volunteer: There are muliple events at the conference where you could volunteer to serve the community. Sub-division meetings, receptions, award ceremonies- these are places to find INFORMS leaders and offer a lending hand. That’s all it takes. Refer to the INFORMS website for further opportunities to help out so you can be prepared
  • Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy: Enjoy the time in San Francisco especially all you folks that are coming from cold places like me. San Fransico is the second most wlkable city characterized by its numerous culturally rich streetscapes so its going to be PERFECT!

Hope you find this information helpful. Other vetrans at the conference please comment if I am missing something. I am going to attempt to write a blog each day with my day’s summary and things to look for, the next  day . It will be great if you could share your experiences as well. But as everyone I do have a packed schedule at the conference and dont know how regular I will be, but will certainly try

See you all in San Franscisco! I dont know about you but I am so looking forward to it. Hope you all enjoy every moment of the  “Big Data  and Analytics magic” sharing, learning and networking  in the Information Technology city..

Nov 6 14

Coming to INFORMS from abroad!

by Burcu B. Keskin

My preparation for INFORMS this year is more challenging as I will be travelling over 10,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean!

Nevertheless, things to pack are, more or less, the same: laptop, power cords, clothes.  Of course, passport!

This time one new thing is INFORMS MOBILE! If you haven’t done so, please download the app and enjoy going paperless! I have already created my list of talks and sessions!

See you everybody in San Francisco!