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INFORMS Tutorials

Thanks to Craig Tovey and Gilberto Montibelier for their insightful tutorials on nature inspired heuristics and behavioral challenges in policy analysis!

We are wrapping up today’s tutorials with Dorit Hochbaum’s tutorial on machine learning with combinatorial optimization algorithms. Come an join us at North Building 229a!

Attend INFORMS Tutorials Track sessions!

Thanks to Satish Bukkapatnam for kicking off the INFORMS Tutorials track sessions this morning! Our next talk in the Tutorials series is on Nature Inspired Heuristics by Craig Tovey at 11:00 am this morning.

We have a wonderful set of talks this year and invite everyone to the Tutorials sessions to learn on contemporary techniques and application areas from world renowned OR researchers!

Tutorial sessions are scheduled in North Building 229A during technical sessions, and the best way to see a list of the talks is to search for the word “tutorials” in the INFORMS meetings app. See you there!

Welcome to Phoenix!!!

We are proud to welcome everyone to our fair city for the INFORMS conference!!! The organizing committee and the INFORMS staff has worked especially hard to arrange gorgeous weather so that you can all enjoy the outdoors as much as the sessions indoors! Make sure to drink lots of water, though, since we have very, very dry weather in Phoenix and you get dehydrated very quickly… Enjoy the conference, and welcome again!!!

Great Start

Great start to INFORMS Analytics 2016. I attended the planning committee meeting and saw some former colleagues and friends, including Paul Wicker, Ed Pohl, Scott Nestler, and Freeman Marvin.  I consider everyone else on the committee a friend also; some I know well and others are more recent acquaintances.  Congratulations to Elea Feit and her committee for arranging another great conference!

At the reception it was great say hello to Margery Connor and many other INFORMS members and also members of our great professional staff. I look forward to the sessions over the next two days.

Tomorrow Margery, Yan Zhu, and I will talk about Chevron winning the INFORMS Prize last year.  Hope to see you there.

And the awards go to….

I posted earlier on the competitions sponsored by the Analytics Section, and since the final decisions were made by this evening now I’ll announce the winners.

Winning first prize in the Innovative Applications in Analytics competition is the Mayo Clinic for their work on Intelligent Surgical Scheduling. Congratulations to them for winning, as well as to the teams from American Airlines and from the MIT Operations Research Center and Rue La La for their excellent work as finalists.

The 2015 Spreadsheet Guru winner is Lianna Gerrish of Advanced Energy Industries, so congratulations go to her for solving the final problem statement in only 13 minutes last night! In second place, at 21 minutes, was Jason Acimovic, who is a professor at Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal School of Business.

Great work to all!


Optimize, not supersize

This morning I had the privilege of hearing the reprise presentation of the 2015 Franz Edelman Award winner. Syngenta is using data driven analytics to transform the way soybeans are breeded. With the population projected to grow by the billions over the coming years, there exists a critical need to feed the world in a sustainable and healthy manner. We need to be able to do more with less. As a result, Syngenta has implemented 4 optimization tools that look at over a trillion (literally a trillion) design options to produce the greatest genetic gain for soybeans. Doing so has allowed Syngenta to claim all the spots on the podium in 2013 for top soybean yields, and has saved the company over $287 million. If I was not impressed by the impact of their work (but don’t worry, I was!), there is no denying that their presentation was top notch. The flow of the presentation, relaxed tone of the speakers, and their ability to discuss complex subjects with eloquent simplicity was nothing short of impressive. Congratulations Syngenta! The award is well-deserved!

The Elephant in the Room

This is my first INFORMS Analytics conference and I wasn’t sure what to expect.  As analytics practitioners we all come from a variety of companies, industries, and geographical locations.  I would even argue we come from a variety of fields.  So, what is “analytics?”  I was pleasantly surprised that so many of the speakers have addressed this question as an important topic.  I think of it as the “elephant in the room” and I appreciate and applaud the INFORMS community for speaking to it directly.

Companies are clamoring for “analytics.”  They want data scientists but do they know what that is or why they need that capability.  We read article after article discussing the talent gap in the U.S.  Does that talent gap really even exist?  Is it more of a communication gap?  The talent is there and growing.  More and more academic programs in analytics are springing up.  The CAP certification is gaining momentum.  Is it really the burden of the practitioner or the community of practitioners (INFORMS) to better inform industry of what we can do to improve the function and profitability of their businesses?  Some industry is buying into these “buzz terms” as if it is an untapped market, rather than an “under-tapped” innovative approach to seeking new markets or optimizing existing markets.

These are the questions I contemplate personally as I grow in my operations research and analytics career.  I am interested in learning more at tomorrow’s session, “How Does Industry Define Analytics?”

Monday Funday

This morning started off with a classic doppelgänger misunderstanding. A new friend and I went to go eat breakfast at a table with who we thought from a distance was a fellow IPC participant. Well, we sat down and the man that looked up at us was NOT the same guy. It’s all good though- we made a new friend.

From there, I scooted off to coffee with a member. And after coffee with a member, I accidentally crashed someone else’s coffee with a member! Thanks to the Stanford PhD candidates for letting me join their conversation!

My first talk of the day was Jen Underwood’s discussion of developing real time dashboards. She highlighted best practices and showed off free (!!!) tools that can be utilized. I just finished up a project at work on dashboards, so I’m hoping we can implement some of her tactics for later improvements.

Next, I hit up Sam Savage’s introduction to SIPMath. I think what he has going is awesome- we need to be able to “communicate uncertainty unambiguously” aka make probability easy for everyone to understand and utilize. And at the end of the presentation, I left my purse in the room by mistake (I was totally on the ball this morning)! Fortunately, I realized the mistake within 10 minutes and was able to walk away unscathed and with my credit cards.

While the previous two lectures were directly related to my job function, I decided to indulge in a sports lecture for some fun. Patrick Lucey from Disney (FYI I had no idea that Disney did research for ESPN!) highlighted real time tracking methods for soccer, basketball, and tennis. Did you know that 71.3% of penalty kick shots on goal resulted in goals? Me neither.

In the afternoon, I attended an Edelman Finalist presentation from the US Army / Sandia. I was truly impressed that the use of analytics saved over $3 billion. THREE BILLION DOLLARS. Talk about impact!

The impact of analytics was truly visible at the Edelman Gala. All of the finalists are (in the words of Bill Nye), “dare I say it, changing the world!” Huge congratulations to Syngenta for your efforts with solving world hunger! I’d also like to send a congratulations to my alma mater Lehigh University for being a finalist for the UPS George D. Smith Prize! Thank you to Brian Heath who sat next to me and provided words of encouragement as I cried over our loss. (Just kidding- no tears were shed!)

I’m sure I’m missing something from Monday Funday, so my apologies to any cool people or events that didn’t get a shout out. Good night and see you tomorrow!

Curlews, curiosity, and certification

Long billed curlewUp early due to jet lag, yesterday I rode a rented bicycle to the nearby Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve for some birdwatching. I love travel for many reasons, but one is the chance to see different birds than those I see at my home in North Carolina. One of my favorites from yesterday is the Long-Billed Curlew, whose range doesn’t extend east, so it was great to see them while here in California.

So does this odd-looking bird relate to the conference? Well, last night Roberts, Chief Scientist at Talent Analytics, gave a talk at the Executive Forum  on “How to Build a Powerful Analytical Culture.” One of his key points is to hire for mindset and not skill, because skills like programming languages can be learned but traits like curiosity and creativity cannot. These two traits are the top ones identified among data scientists in their extensive study. Looking at the Long-billed Curlew walking along tidal mudflats, constantly digging its long bill below the surface to see what tasty things lie beneath, I thought about how they can be likened to data scientists. The very odd-looking bill this bird has is a creative adaptation that enables it to find food sources hidden beneath the surface. Coupled with curiosity to keep looking for unseen treasures, the Long-Billed Curlew can find insects and invertebrates other birds can’t find. They often forage for food in solitary fashion. Does my comparison now start to make sense?

Pasha pointed out the importance of executives in analytics, saying that they must set the vision at the top and clearly define what business questions they want their curlews to answer. They should protect their curlews by letting them do what they do well (dig their creatively-long bills into the data  and use their curiosity to find the answers to those business questions). It can be equally important not to make them do things for which they may not be well adapted (deal with politics, manage others, communicate). Before you bristle at generalizations, there is plenty of variation among curlews, and some may be good at these things, but plenty are not, so just let those who aren’t keep their bills busy digging for treasures in the data.

Before I heard Pasha’s remarks at the Executive Forum I led a meeting of the INFORMS Analytics Certification Board members attending the conference. One of our brand-new initiatives I am excited about is an entry-level certification, which we are tentatively calling the Associate Certified Analytics Professional. Unlike the current Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) program, it does not require related work experience but only that the applicant has a MS in a related degree program and passes the CAP exam. We have had demand from many of the analytics graduate programs, and we hope to launch this new program by the fall. To continue my curlew comparison, consider these the fledgling curlews, who have learned everything Mom and Dad curlew taught, them and are ready to leave the nest. They just don’t yet have experience living on their own and have shorter bills (true fact about Long-Billed Curlews). If you hire well-educated curlews who have long bills, creativity, and curiosity, they will learn fast on the job while their bills grow in to be even longer. And if you want to know that your curlews, fledgling or all grown up, have what it takes to succeed in that big world out there, consider hiring a certified curlew, aka Certified Analytics Professional!

Image credit: photo by Pacific Southwest Region// attribution by creative commons

Data on the Analytics Conference

Another great Analytics Conference!  William Ruh, of GE, started off the day with a motivating presentation about the present state of Analytics and its favorable future.  Among other things, Mr. Ruh discussed that the analytics professional is now the ‘cool guy’ in business.  Yet, even the analytics professional is riding on the shoulders of the data gatherers.  In that light, I thought it would be fun to start gathering less than obvious data about the Analytics Conference.  So, throughout the day, I kept tally of some interesting (entertaining, at least) data…

61      The number of times the word “Analytics” was said during a presentation I attended.  It is interesting to note, that the not every presenter spoke “Aalytics”, but when it came up – it came up often.

14     The number of times an attendee took a picture of the presenter’s slides using their mobile device.  This is something that I had not considered doing… perhaps I’m missing out on a cool new trend.

03      The number of times that “Application Programming Interfaces (API)” were discussed during a presentation I attended.  My goal with this metrics was to get a sense of how often we think about (a) how we automate the gathering of data and (b) if we are good about exposing our own data back to the enterprise/cloud/internet.  I made a tally mark for anything similar ro APIs, such as “Machine to Machine” or “Exposing Data”.

10     The number of times the presenter used multimedia in thier presentations.  I included accessing the web, use of a tool, videos, sounds, or other interactive shenanigans.  I would speculate that this will increase over time.

05    The number of times the word “Social” was uttered during a presentation.  My initial thought was that there would be a lot of discussion about using data from social media.  Perhaps I didn’t attend the presentations that would have been more likely to utter this word.

08    The number of times the word “Big Data” was uttered during a presenation.  It is humorous to note, that in most of the instances, the discussion was about how the term was not adequate or that it was overused.


10     The number of times the word “Human” was said during a presentation.  Here I was trying to get at a few things such as: “Analytics are better than human intuition”… “Let humans do what humans to best, let Analytics do the rest”… “Measuring human responses” and so on.  I think that I didn’t think this one out enough.  Perhaps next year.

This data is provided without warranty and was gathered as well as my attention span allowed.

Get a cap by becoming a CAP

But more than a hat… the certification can have many great benefits. We go through college, internal corporate trainings, and professional certifications.  So why not obtain something to designate you as “certified” in an area as broad analytics? It can help your career, obtain higher fees in front of clients, confirm your abilities and provide credibility,  learn to speak in a common language, and cross train within your organization. AND it is the gold standard in the field!

if we teach them they will come?

Finding good analytics people is tough from education to experience to business acumen. What college or professional education options align with the expanding business analytics field? We are typically looking for skill sets that include data acquisition and management all the way to presenting results to purchasing clients. That is quite a broad breadth!  Per the HBR panel, these may be unicorns!  Therefore, we must develop individuals that have telling signs that they can be successful which requires creativity when interviewing.

The future’s so bright for analytics

…that we have to wear shades! Shout out to the staff for giving us all sweet sunglasses to enjoy an outdoor lunch!

Actually, I’ve decided that this post is going to be completely dedicated to shout outs.

Shout out #2 to informs for hosting such a well run conference. I’ve been to other conferences, but this one definitely catches the wave!

Shout out #3 to all of the people attending! I’ve learned that it’s not so much about what you’re doing, but who you’re with that really matters. Despite everyone else having a higher education level and greater work successes than yours truly (I just graduated and have about 9 months of experience in industry thus far), everyone is very approachable and laid back. I feel like I can just walk up to a stranger and start talking about, well, just about anything…and I’ve done exactly that!

Shout out to Juan and Anirudha from BNSF Railways and Brad from SAS for chatting with me at the welcome reception last night about your current projects and life in general. If it weren’t for the chocolate fondue, who knows how long we would’ve chatted. Sorry fellas, but there’s no stopping me and chocolate!

Some final shout outs to Andy Boyd and Alan Briggs for taking their time to participate in “coffee with a member.” I was able to learn not just about informs, but gain career advice as well. “If you want something, go after it!”

On that note, I’m off to some more conference presentations. Stay tuned this evening for a recap of my Monday adventures!

Seeing Through the Clouds?

In case you missed them, here are all of the conference exhibitor descriptions and presentation abstracts, as a word cloud:


Can you find “Cloud” in there?  The NEOS Server has been providing a sort of optimization in  the cloud for 20 years, and powerful new cloud offerings for analytics number-crunching are announced regularly.  (IBM has one big announcement at this meeting.)  But in optimization what I look for in cloud services is a certain transparency, which permits you to switch between solving on the computer in front of you, on a collection of servers in your company, and in a cloud of the software provider’s servers, by resetting just a few options.

The increasing variety of distributed algorithms has increased the attractiveness of cloud-based solutions in recent years.  Surprisingly the simplest scenario, in which many independent solves are distributed over multiple computers in the cloud, is also in some ways the hardest to set up.  It’s straightforward to send out all the problems to be solved, but another matter to coordinate all the solutions that come back.  Again, what you want is a reasonably transparent way to switch between sequential solves locally and distributed solves in the cloud, by resetting some options rather than reprogramming your application.

INFORMS as a source for Analytics talent

I had the privilege to speak to the Executive Forum attendees. The topic was INFORMS role in providing analytics talent. Really it’s a make or buy decision. If you “buy” your analytics talent by hiring, the INFORMS Career Center provides high quality job seekers. This conference is a source to meet skilled analytics professionals. The INFORMS Annual Meeting brings up to 5,000 people together with 78 simultaneous tracks of three to five talks each. One of the speakers must be a great fit for an employer.

Hiring masters-level graduates provides expertise in their area. Consider PhDs for their breadth as well as depth. Plus their exposure to research can be helpful in solving non-standard problems.

If you “make” your analytics talent by developing current employees the academic programs involved with INFOMS provide superb education. Consider collaborating to help shape programs to better meet your needs – a win-win. Certificate programs provide a faster result if your goals are more focused. MOOCs are useful, and more successful if you can employees meet in study groups. Consider having selected classes delivered onsite by a university or consultancy.

The CAP program provides a development road map, recognition, and a way to screen job applicants. CAP also has a continuing education component, encouraging a continuously learning organization.

I also distinguish between training and education. Employers naturally gravitate towards training, but education helps people deal with those troubling non0standard problems.

Finally, consider self-development by subscribing to the free digital magazine Analytics. Interfaces provides case studies that are readily useful. ORMS Today is a helpful publication provided to INFORMS members. Finally, companies should consider becoming a member of the INFORMS Round Table.

Bill Klimack

Opportunities abound

Considering the schedule for the next two days, it’s excellent to see many large companies represented throughout the tracks, granted there are always those hidden gems that can come from many diverse process-oriented minds.  Personally, it’s good to see Ford represented as well as many other varied industries to see how intelligence gained can be cross-referenced across industries. Enjoy all!

The IPC Scoop

Good evening from the beautiful Hyatt Regency in Huntington Beach, California! I’m Rosie Roessel and I just finished up my day as an informs Professional Colloquium participant. First off, thank you to Alan Briggs and company for putting together such an awesome agenda! I’m going to outline the day and throw in a key quote from that portion because I love a good quote!
1) Robin Lougee from IBM talked about the state of the world’s information and where we’re going. Key quote: “Data is the new oil.”
2) We had a group activity where we interacted with a customer to solve a real industry problem.
Key quote: “Whatever you’re doing, do it excellently. And document that you’re doing it excellently.”
3) Aly Megahed and Erick Wikum gave us advice for launching our careers.
Key quote: “Network, network, network!”
4) We indulged in a finger-licking good taco bar lunch provided by Pacific Grill! Rumor has it that we were originally going to have boxed lunches… Thank goodness we didn’t!
Key quote: “Is it acceptable to get seconds… And thirds?”
5) An executive panel answered questions about problem solving, communication, getting jobs, career advancement, visualization, soft skills… Basically everything.
Key quote: “I could care less about big data. I care about big impact!”
6) Glenn gave us the scoop about informs… What is this organization that we’re here for?!
Key quote: “Get involved!”
7) Sam Savage talked about making probability useful for everyone. He’s a true renaissance man (car mechanic, PhD, folk musician, author, puzzle maker, etc) and his energy made for a fun end to a great day!

I’m off to check out the career fair with my new friends and fellow IPC participants! See you there!

The Seat of Your Pants

Today Sam Savage said “You don’t learn to ride a bike from a seat in the classroom, you learn it from the seat of your pants”. If it wasn’t exactly those words, it was close. I learned a few weeks ago that no one goes to Disneyland and leaves without Mickey Ears. Well, no one should go to a conference on Analytics and leave without listening to Sam Savage speak.

The theme of “learn by doing” was present in both of the tutorials I attended today.

The first tutorial was on Forio. The presenter, Mike Bean, showed how they host analytic models online. While someone might do this to take advantage of the speed of cloud computing, the benefit of anyone being able to play around with a model is what caught my eye. What do I know about the spread of HIV in Vietnam… next to nothing (not exactly nothing because I believe I spelled them right – which is something). But if I wanted to, I could play around with an intuitive model that shows the HIV rates given a variety of different mitigation approaches. And by playing around in the model, in the data, anyone online could start to understand the complexities of such an issue (even if they never become an expert on them). Make models. Make them available online. Let the world play with it – and discover how the world thinks. That wasn’t necessarily what Mike Bean intended for me to take away, but I loved the idea so much I had to share it.

The second tutorial was on Probability Management. Always an invigorating speaker, Sam Savage described the hopes and dreams of the non-profit, If X and Y are iid Uniform(0,1), what is the distribution of Cos(X*Y)? While the closed form answer may be reached with many hours of highly paid Statistician work, an accurate enough answer could be derived in seconds by the new intern using Excel. That is, if we change the way we think about probabilities.

Not just “Watching” the waves, but “Catching” the Waves this year…


As a long time member of INFORMS, I have had the pleasure of seeing the Analytics conference grow and become the premier event where leading professionals in our field report on their success stories. Unbelievably, this is the first time that I am attending the Analytics conference, even though I only missed two annual meetings in the last fifteen years. As an academic, I am looking forward to “listening” and learning about the impact that our field has recently had on the world we live in and what we can do to push the Analytics movement even further. I believe that the conference will not only help me understand some of the contemporary problems and inform my research, but will also shape the way that I teach my classes to appropriately prepare the next generation of OR practitioners. In my role as the VP for Sections/Societies, I have observed that many academics share my enthusiasm about hearing on industry practice and experiences, and many members on the Subdivisions Council have recommended that we find more ways to increase the interaction between academics and practitioners so that academics work with practitioners, developing useful solutions to problems relevant to the world we live in. I believe that the Analytics conference is a big step in that direction, and I am hoping that more and more academics will recognize the tremendous value it offers!

IPC 2015

The 11th Annual INFORMS Professional Colloquium was another smashing success. We had more applicants, higher fund-raising and a stronger program than any of us could remember. Though the organizing committee worked hard to put everything together, I think I credit our continued success to the fact that it’s such a great product. There are currently plans to piece together a more complete history of the program, but the general idea was simple: introduce graduate students from OR/MS to real life perspectives on practice within the field. Meeting for a full-day curriculum the day preceding the Analytics conference, roughly 20 students are selected and have the opportunity to begin building their professional networks and learning from practitioners in the field.
I attended the Colloquium, myself, in 2011, literally as my very first event with INFORMS. The deeply discounted registration rate, combined with the scholarship funds made available by way of the generous corporate donations brought attendance within my grad-school-budgeted financial reach. I’ve continued to be involved each subsequent year, and have been privileged to see countless young students reap the same benefits as me. I encourage all conference attendees to think learn more about the Colloquium: meet the students, review the conference website for details on the program, and perhaps even consider making a financial contribution or nominating a student for participation in the future.

Forecasting, flushing, flying, and faceoffs

I finally made it to Huntington Beach, after spending a 7+ hour layover in Dallas. When they concluded that Plane 1’s scratch on the door wasn’t a quick fix we were dispatched to a different gate and boarded Plane 2. We were just about to take off when they announced that the toilets wouldn’t flush, so once again we had to wait for maintenance to report. You can’t confine hundreds of people to a metal tube for 3 hours without bathrooms! Relief washed over us as we heard the joyful sound of flushing. But our relief was short-lived, because the captain then announced that we couldn’t take off because the First Officer had now exceeded the FAA-regulated number of hours he could work. So we deplaned again while they went looking for more crew. By this point my colleague Brad was on the phone with our company after-hours emergency travel service, which got us rebooked on a later flight, aka Plane 3. Or really Plane 4, if you count the one that brought me and Brad from North Carolina to Dallas.

In the taxi Brad and I were talking about whether analytics could have prevented this situation, and he pointed out that while our travails were not fun, a certain amount of problems represent normal variation. I’ve flown dozens of flights in recent years without this kind of trouble, so the fact that the system works as well as it does, when we take to the skies in those metal tubes and they don’t run into each other, is still a bit of a miracle to me.

And in fact what feels sometimes like the man behind the curtain is no miracle but a very analytically-driven system, since transportation leads many innovative approaches in analytics across most parts of their business. So while you can’t forecast a blessedly rare event like a malfunctioning toilet, you plan for what you can plan for. And you simulate! So I’ll listen with extra interest to the presentation by the American Airlines team, which is a finalist in the Innovative Applications in Analytics Award. They will present on Tuesday on a “Simulation Approach for Aircraft Spare Engines & Engine Part Planning,” a talk I look forward to attending. The other two finalists in this competition, which is sponsored by the INFORMS Analytics Section (of which I am the Secretary), are from the Mayo Clinic (presenting on their Intelligent Surgical Scheduling System) and the MIT Operations Research Center and Rue La La (presenting on Analytics for an Online Retailer: Demand forecasting and Price Optimization at Rue La La). As an officer in the Analytics Section, I encourage you to all three presentations, because the judges have said that the caliber of work is on par with the Edelman Competition, which will of course be over by Tuesday.

Another competition sponsored by the Analytics Section and my own company, SAS, is for the Student Analytical Scholar Award. For this competition my colleagues at SAS prepare a case study based on a real engagement we’ve done and provide it, along with some data, for students to analyze and decide how they’d tackle the problem. Their submission is a statement of work, where they are challenged to balance the technical veracity of their proposed solution along with all the business issues. A compelling and “sellable” proposal is key, and our winner this year is Jodie Lam from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. The prize was having her expenses paid to attend this conference and the INFORMS Professional Colloquium (IPC). A fellow classmate of hers from their Master of Management in OR program, Qinlu (Louisa) Chen, was named Honorable Mention, and she will also participate in the IPC. Both of them will present posters of their work on Monday, so I encourage you to seek them out.

The third faceoff sponsored by the Analytics Section is the Spreadsheet Guru Competition, where contestants receive four rounds of problem statements, with solutions judged on the basis of clarity and solving speed. The final round will also run on Tuesday, and as with the Innovative Applications in Analytics Award, the 2015 Spreadsheet Guru will be announced at the end of the day on Tuesday. We’ll be recognizing all these stellar folks at a breakfast on  Monday morning for the Student Analytical Scholar winners and the Innovative Applications in Analytics and Spreadsheet Guru Competition finalists. Please congratulate all these folks for their hard work in reaching this stage. The Analytics Section is pleased to showcase these very different examples of analytics in practice.

How the Analytics Revolution is Changing the Face of Management Education

Today business schools are under growing pressure to engage in significant reforms due to the impacts of globalization, new learning technologies, changing demographics, and unprecedented economic uncertainty. The business community is looking for web savvy graduates that can hit the ground running. To this end, a recent study, sponsored by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), revealed a wide gap between the changing needs of the business community and the programs being offered by the schools of business. The AACSB report specifically calls for strengthening the use of international partnerships, expanding internationalization within the curriculum, and connecting various global activities through a comprehensive collaboration strategy. The Analytics paradigm, which is seeing widespread use throughout business and government, can be used to enhance management education in the following ways: 1) Provide a conceptual setting for expanding student managerial decision-making expertise, 2) Assess student performance and identify appropriate additional learning resources via intelligent tutors, and 3) Offer administrators the capability to improve operational effectiveness. Identifying the “best” approach for teaching students and training professionals in modern decision-making and problem-solving is at the heart of the Analytics movement in academe. Properly aligned with the school’s mission statement, the Analytics paradigm offers the promise of strengthening student learning and employment opportunities as well as improving institutional operational efficiencies.

Owen Hall, Jr.
Pepperdine University

Get Social

social network illustrationThere are several ways to interact and stay connected at the conference. You can share, comment, or just view postings and photos from INFORMS and your colleagues.

Conference Photos

View conference photos updated throughout the conference in one of three places: the photo section in the mobile app, the conference homepage, or directly on our Flickr album. We’d love to post your photos in the album for all conference attendees to see. Please email your snapshots to throughout the conference.


Don’t miss INFORMS official conference tweets by following @Analytics2015. See what your colleagues are saying or join the conversation using hashtag #analytics2015. You can also view this feed in the twitter section of the INFORMS Meeting App as well as on the conference homepage.

Badge Scanner

Included in the Mobile App is a great networking tool, the Badge Scanner.  You can find it in the User Tools menu on the top right of the app. If two people strike up a conversation, they can scan each other’s badges to automatically add the new friend’s contact information to the ‘My Connections’ section of the app. This information can then be edited to add extra details that may not be included in the badge info.

Message from the Chair

Manoj ChariManoj Chari
The INFORMS Business Analytics conference, with the breadth of Analytics topics, and the depth and quality of its presentations, is a must for Analytics practitioners, whether they work in the public sector or private industry.

In this conference, you can get beyond the buzz about Big Data and Analytics, and learn from experts from established industry organizations as well as exciting new startups about practical implementations based on Analytics that drive better decisions and business value. It is an intense couple of days, but you will go home with a wealth of new ideas and best practices, and an expanded network of professional peers. Enjoy the conference!


001The 2015 INFORMS Analytics Conference is right around the corner and INFORMS is offering a new conference tool- the first INFORMS Meetings App developed in-house!

We have you covered from beginning to end, including an event guide with a map, so you’re always at the right place at the right time. You’ll be able to plan your day with a personalized schedule and browse exhibitors, maps and general conference info.

The app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and Android devices.

Included in the app is a great networking tool, the Badge Scanner.  You can find it in the User Tools menu. If two people strike up a conversation, they can scan each other’s badges to automatically add the new friend’s contact information to the ‘My Contacts’ section of the app. This information can then be edited to add extra details that may not be included in the badge info.

The team has also been hard at work improving a feature called Happening Now. This feature lets attendees see important events going on at the conference at that specific moment. On the homepage, just scroll down to see the latest conference happenings, or select ‘Happening Now’ from the main menu.

The INFORMS Meetings app features include:

  • Session list with abstracts, and the ability to filter sessions by topic area
  • Compile your list of “favorite” sessions as you browse the conference
  • Speaker index complete with bios
  • Ability to leave session feedback
  • Maps and event list
  • Conference photos and twitter feed
  • Local activities and dining information

We put the best event experience in the palm of your hand with the 2015 INFORMS Conference App. Download it today for iOS on the App Store or Android on Google Play and start planning out your schedule today!

Why Attend Analytics 2015?


  • Hear over 150 talks and perspectives on topics such as Real Time Decision Systems, Managing Risk, Supply Chain/Logistics, Revenue Management and more.
  • Secure a cross-industry view of high-impact real-world analytics applications and learn how to apply them effectively.
  • Leverage analytics best practices to optimize your business processes and make fact-based business decisions.
  • Get valuable insights that will help decision makers in your company better understand the value of analytics as a competitive driver.


  • Sharpen your skills in quantitative methodologies and technologies.
  • Enjoy extensive, organized and facilitated networking opportunities that provide future directions and contacts that can help you and your business.
  • Celebrate excellence in analytics practice at the unsurpassed Edelman Awards Gala.
  • Learn how to sell analytics to key decision makers and potential users.


  • Meet with research vendors and suppliers for new products and services, potential savings and new ideas.
  • Take advantage of technical workshops that provide software solutions explained in the context of business.
  • Share real-world lessons with your students who will want to know how to apply O.R. to business applications.
  • Conduct a follow-up presentation for your company on current trends, best practices and innovative strategies that will open their minds to new possibilities.



The 2015 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R. is the one program that consistently delivers time-proven applications and processes that will improve your business’s bottom line. Anyone who works in the analytics, operations research, or management science fields will want to attend the analytics event of the year.

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) is the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research (O.R.), management science, and analytics.

Some Fun Facts

Hiring Employers
Days by the beach

"The INFORMS Business Analytics Conference is the single most important annual conference for business and government professionals out there today. Whether you are a data scientist, a business analyst, a program manager, or an enterprise policy maker, you will travel home with a head full of good ideas. While I do make some time to attend other conferences, the INFORMS Business Analytics Conference is the only one that I go to every year. That says it all."



• Earlybird price
• Deadline March 23
• Haven’t attended in 4 years
• Click for details
Click below for prices
• Certification Bundle
• Guest Rates
• By Invitation Rates
• Continuing Education



William Ruh, Vice President of GE Software

Mr. William Ruh is Vice President of GE Software, an advanced software technology and shared services organization that serves more than 30,000 engineers across GE business divisions, giving customers the capabilities required to connect intelligent machines, data and people, and to run industrial-scale analytics.

Read more »


Brenda L. Dietrich, Ph.D. IBM Fellow & Vice President, Emerging Technology, IBM Watson

Brenda Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President. She joined IBM in 1984 and has worked in the area now called analytics for her entire career, applying data and computation to business decision processes throughout IBM. For over a decade she led the Mathematical Sciences function in the IBM Research division where she was responsible for both basic research on computational mathematics and for the development of novel applications of mathematics for both IBM and its clients.

Read more »

Focused Tracks


The 2015 INFORMS Analytics Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa in Huntington Beach, CA.

Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa
21500 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92648

Shimmering views of the Pacific and luxurious amenities abound at the oceanfront Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. Innovative, Spanish-inspired architecture sets the scene for a memorable retreat at this resort hotel, complete with Pacific Waters Spa, ocean adventures and superior service.

Exhibits & Sponsorship


Maximize your company’s visibility through sponsorship opportunities. We expect the conference to draw 800+ quantitative/analytic practitioners – including senior level managers from leading industries as well as leading academics – for three days of intensive learning and networking.

Sponsor Edelman Gala

In order to make this event memorable for attendees, those who view it later online, and executives who may not be as familiar with the transformative power of O.R. and analytics, we need the help of industry supporters like you. Pledge to be a sponsor of this outstanding event.



Exhibit Hall Sold Out! Waiting List Available

Reach 800+ analytic/quantitative professionals – don’t miss this opportunity to interact with key decision-makers who influence the buying decisions of major corporations.

Contact Us

Exhibits and Sponsorship

Exhibits and Sponsorship

For exhibit space, contact Maria Bennett at email: or telephone: 770-431-0867, ext. 219. For sponsor information and Edelman sponsorship information contact John Llewellyn at email: or telephone: 770-431-0867, ext. 209.

Registration Questions

Registration Questions

For registration questions please contact INFORMS Customer Service Department at Email | Phone 800-446-3676 or 443-757-3500 | Fax: 443-757-3515, Attn: Meetings Dept.

Oral & Poster Submission

Oral & Poster Submission

For questions regarding oral or poster submission, please contact Laura Payne, INFORMS at Email: | Phone: 443-757-3593

Career Services Questions

Career Services Questions

For questions about the Career Fair or Interview Booths, please contact Niki Sammons, INFORMS at Email: | Telephone: 800-446-3676, ext. 555 or 443-757-3555 | Fax: 443-757-3515, Attn: Niki Sammons

General Inquiries