Operations Research

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  • Taking Optimization With You After Graduation

    Michael Trick's Operations Research Blog
    Michael Trick
    7 Aug 2014 | 9:06 am
    In the Tepper MBA program, we use versions of Excel’s Solver (actually a souped up version from Frontline Systems)  for most of our basic optimization courses.  Students like this since they feel comfortable with the Excel interface and they know that they can use something like this in their summer internships and first jobs, albeit they are likely to the more crippled version standard with Excel.  For those who are particularly keen, we point them to an open source optimization system that can allow them to stay within the Excel structure. In our most advanced course, we use AIMMS…
  • WORMS Childcare Travel Fund application for the INFORMS Annual Meeting

    Punk Rock Operations Research
    Laura McLay
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:32 am
    I am the Past-President of the Forum for Women in OR/MS (WORMS). My last initiative as President was to get the ball rolling on a travel fund for students and junior faculty traveling to the INFORMS Annual Meeting with babies and young children (Fact: I did this once!). The travel fund would help pay for childcare costs at the conference. A student member made the suggestion at the business meeting as a way to support (both literally and figuratively) young women in our field, and I thought it was something we should already have been doing. Current WORMS President Susan Martonosi (at…
  • How to Recycle a Stroller?

    greenOR
    or4green
    28 Aug 2014 | 7:38 am
    How do you recycle an entire stroller?  Here I describe how I went about it, inspired by concepts in The Upcycle and Cradle to Cradle.  We had been storing some old strollers and car seats we no longer used in a shed in our yard.  Some were slightly broken.  The shed roof had been leaking and so some of the items were further damaged.  In the process of fixing the shed, the time came to get rid of the strollers.  The water damage had resulted in mold on the stroller fabric.  So the strollers could not be readily reused by another family. I looked into recycling programs in my city and…
  • Introducing the Shiny App DThiring

    Maximize Productivity with Industrial Engineer and Operations Research Tools
    Larry D'Agostino
    4 Aug 2014 | 6:09 pm
    Well it has a been a long time since I have written anything on this blog.  I am long overdue.  I've been terribly busy learning new things and getting on with life.  One of the things I have learned is building R applications using Shiny developed by RStudio.   The folks at RStudio have also created a way to deploy Shiny apps using Shinyapps.io.  Follow the link to DThiringhttp://larrydag.shinyapps.io/dthiring/I'm a big fan of Data Tau which is a Data Science equivalent to Hacker News.  Like Hacker News, Data Tau has a Who's Hiring comment on the first of every…
  • Endowed Professorships at the Isenberg School of Management

    RENeW
    31 Aug 2014 | 2:45 pm
    Today (yes, it is a Sunday of the Labor Day weekend), we heard the good news from our Dean, Dr. Mark Fuller, via en email message, that two of our faculty have been appointed to Endowed Chaired Professorships. Specifically, Hossein B. Kazemi, a professor of finance at Isenberg, is the new Michael and Cheryl Philipp Professor of Finance.  Kazemi is actually the second holder of the Philipp Professorship - Professor Tom Schneeweis, who recently retired, was the first and assumed it in…
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    Michael Trick's Operations Research Blog

  • Taking Optimization With You After Graduation

    Michael Trick
    7 Aug 2014 | 9:06 am
    In the Tepper MBA program, we use versions of Excel’s Solver (actually a souped up version from Frontline Systems)  for most of our basic optimization courses.  Students like this since they feel comfortable with the Excel interface and they know that they can use something like this in their summer internships and first jobs, albeit they are likely to the more crippled version standard with Excel.  For those who are particularly keen, we point them to an open source optimization system that can allow them to stay within the Excel structure. In our most advanced course, we use AIMMS…
  • The Baa-readth of Operations Research

    Michael Trick
    6 Aug 2014 | 12:47 pm
    At the recent International Federation of Operational Research Society (IFORS) meeting in Barcelona (a fabulous conference, by the way), I had the honor of being nominated as President of that “society of societies”.  If elected, my term will start January 1, 2016, so I get a bit of a head start in planning. I was looking through one of the IFORS publications, International Abstracts in Operations Research.  I am sure I will write about this more, since I think this is a very nice publication looking for its purpose in the age of Google.  This journal publishes the abstracts…
  • Optimization, Operations Research and the Edelman Prize

    Michael Trick
    23 May 2014 | 12:37 pm
    This year, I have the distinct honor of chairing the committee to award the Franz Edelman Award, given out by INFORMS for the best work that “attests to the contributions of operations research and analytics in both the profit and non-profit sectors”.  This competition has been incredibly inspiring to me throughout my career.  Just this year, as a judge, I got to see extremely high-quality presentations on eradicating polio throughout the world, bringing high-speed internet to all of Australia, facilitating long kidney exchange chains, and more.  I have seen dozens of…
  • Blogging and the Changing World of Education

    Michael Trick
    4 May 2014 | 9:02 am
    As a blogger, I have been a failure in the last six months.  I barely have enough time to tweet, let alone sit down for these extensively researched, tightly edited, and deeply insightful missives that characterize my blog.  I tell you, 1005 words on finding love through optimization doesn’t just happen! I have my excuses, of course.  As the fabulous PHD Comics points out, most of us academics seem somewhat overbooked, despite the freedom to set much of our schedule.  I am not alone in being congenitally unable to turn down “opportunities” when they come by.
  • Russia really owned this podium

    Michael Trick
    23 Feb 2014 | 7:15 am
    Back in 2010, Canada’s  goal was to “own the podium” at the Winter Olympics.  What “owning the podium” meant was open to interpretation.  Some argued for “most gold medals”; others opted for “most overall medals”; still others had point values for the different types of medals.  Some argued for normalizing by population (which was won, for London 2012, by Grenada with one medal and a population of 110,821, trailed by Jamaica, Trididad and Tobago, New Zealand, Bahamas, and Slovenia) (*). Others think the whole issue is silly: people win…
 
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    Punk Rock Operations Research

  • WORMS Childcare Travel Fund application for the INFORMS Annual Meeting

    Laura McLay
    29 Aug 2014 | 8:32 am
    I am the Past-President of the Forum for Women in OR/MS (WORMS). My last initiative as President was to get the ball rolling on a travel fund for students and junior faculty traveling to the INFORMS Annual Meeting with babies and young children (Fact: I did this once!). The travel fund would help pay for childcare costs at the conference. A student member made the suggestion at the business meeting as a way to support (both literally and figuratively) young women in our field, and I thought it was something we should already have been doing. Current WORMS President Susan Martonosi (at…
  • academic blogs: a labor of love

    Laura McLay
    26 Aug 2014 | 9:59 am
    I recently discovered an articles about academics who blog from Tim Hitchcock (a humanities professor). The title really caught my eye: “Twitter and blogs are not add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion that underpins it.” Yes! We don’t have to create and maintain blogs, we do so because we love our disciplines and we love to share our passion: The best (and most successful) academics are the ones who are so caught up in the importance of their work, so caught up with their simple passion for a subject, that they publicise it with every…
  • the 30 most important seconds of your thesis defense

    Laura McLay
    14 Aug 2014 | 6:18 am
    I’m on a lot of dissertation committees. While most of the committees are for students in my department, many are not in my area of operations research. I’m surprised at how hard it can be to follow along to the bigger picture and/or to the technical details. Even when I completely understand the technical details, I usually do not know enough about the specific research niche to characterize the dissertation’s contribution or novelty. I tell students that the most important part of their thesis or dissertation defenses are the 30 seconds when they summarize the key…
  • in defense of model simplicity

    Laura McLay
    12 Aug 2014 | 6:27 am
    Recently, I found a few interesting articles/posts that all defend model simplicity. An interview with Gregory matthews and Michael Lopez about their winning entry in the Kaggle’s NCAA tournament challenge “ML mania” suggests that it’s better to have a simple model with the right data than a complex model with the wrong data. This is my favorite quote from the interview: "Using the right data is MUCH more important to our models performing well than using more sophisticated models"–@StatsInTheWild #analytics— Laura McLay (@lauramclay) August…
  • it’s still safe to fly

    Laura McLay
    4 Aug 2014 | 7:20 am
    Despite terrifying headlines like “2014 could be worst year for plane crash deaths in almost a decade,” it’s quite safe to fly. Operations research has played a role in demonstrating aviation safety over the years. Professor Arnie Barnett at MIT is a leading authority in aviation safety, and he has published several papers on this topic (see references below for four of them). He was recently on Voice of America in a 22 minute segment discussing aviation safety [Link here, HT @Supernetworks]. According to Barnett, flying in the first world was 100 times safer now than in…
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    greenOR

  • How to Recycle a Stroller?

    or4green
    28 Aug 2014 | 7:38 am
    How do you recycle an entire stroller?  Here I describe how I went about it, inspired by concepts in The Upcycle and Cradle to Cradle.  We had been storing some old strollers and car seats we no longer used in a shed in our yard.  Some were slightly broken.  The shed roof had been leaking and so some of the items were further damaged.  In the process of fixing the shed, the time came to get rid of the strollers.  The water damage had resulted in mold on the stroller fabric.  So the strollers could not be readily reused by another family. I looked into recycling programs in my city and…
  • The Upcycle

    or4green
    26 Jun 2014 | 11:20 am
    I recently finished reading The Upcycle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.  It is the follow-up to their inspiring 2002 book Cradle to Cradle, which I wrote about in one of the first posts on this blog in 2007. The Upcycle extends some of the key concepts from Cradle to Cradle such as its critical take on recycling as “downcycling”, the elegant notion of designing materials to be easily separated back into “biological nutrients” and “technical nutrients”, and more.  It takes the philosophy of the earlier book about solving sustainability challenges through design…
  • Tournaments and Logs

    or4green
    20 Mar 2014 | 8:19 am
    With the NCAA basketball tournaments kicking off, here is a post about an exercise I put together for our pre-calculus class last semester on tournaments and logs.  I find a lot of students do not have a good intuitive grasp of the logarithm function and why it might be useful.  This exercise actually originated when my son was around 5 and began racing his toy cars.  (See the video above – it was hard to determine the winner by eye so we filmed it and ran the finish in slow motion; you can freeze-frame it at around 0:02 to see who won.)  He started collecting…
  • Visualizing LPs in Mathematica

    or4green
    9 Feb 2014 | 2:48 pm
    I’m teaching undergrad linear optimization this semester.  Mathematica can be helpful for visualizing LPs.  It also has some LP solving capabilities.  (Special thanks on this post goes to my colleague Russ Rushmeier, with whom I’m teaching the course, for the example LP, some of the commands, and great discussions.) Here is the example LP we’ll use: max z = x1 + x2 + x3 subject to: 3 x1 + 2 x2 + x3 ≤ 6 x1 – x2 + x3 ≤ 1 x1 + 2 x2 +  x3 ≤ 4 x1 ≥ 0, x2 ≥ 0, x3 ≥ 0. First we’ll plot the feasible region, which is 3-dimensional, using the…
  • Call for proposals: Connecticut Campus Sustainability Conference

    or4green
    2 Jan 2014 | 6:18 am
    Check out the call for proposals for the Connecticut Campus Sustainability Conference on April 25th, 2014 at Middlesex Community College! You can submit a presentation, workshop or panel, and students can submit posters as well!     Friday, April 25, 2014. 8:00am until 4:00pm in EDT. Middlesex Community College, 100 Training Hill Road, Middletown, CT Are you, your students, faculty or staff involved with campus sustainability? If so please submit a proposal using the instructions below. We are interested in sharing best practices, solutions, and lessons learned by higher education…
 
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    Maximize Productivity with Industrial Engineer and Operations Research Tools

  • Introducing the Shiny App DThiring

    Larry D'Agostino
    4 Aug 2014 | 6:09 pm
    Well it has a been a long time since I have written anything on this blog.  I am long overdue.  I've been terribly busy learning new things and getting on with life.  One of the things I have learned is building R applications using Shiny developed by RStudio.   The folks at RStudio have also created a way to deploy Shiny apps using Shinyapps.io.  Follow the link to DThiringhttp://larrydag.shinyapps.io/dthiring/I'm a big fan of Data Tau which is a Data Science equivalent to Hacker News.  Like Hacker News, Data Tau has a Who's Hiring comment on the first of every…
  • OpenOpt 0.53

    Dmitrey
    15 Mar 2014 | 5:40 am
    I'm glad to inform you about new OpenOpt Suite release 0.53:    Stochastic programming addon now is available for free    Some minor changesRegards, Dmitrey.
  • OpenOpt Suite release 0.52

    Dmitrey
    15 Dec 2013 | 4:45 am
    I'm glad to inform you about new OpenOpt Suite release 0.52 (2013-Dec-15):    Minor interalg speedup    oofun expression    MATLAB solvers fmincon and fsolve have been connected    Several MATLAB ODE solvers have been connected    New ODE solvers, parameters abstol and reltol    New GLP solver: direct    Some minor bugfixes and improvements Regards, Dmitrey.
  • New OpenOpt Suite release 0.51

    Dmitrey
    15 Sep 2013 | 7:51 am
    New OpenOpt suite v 0.51 has been released: Some improvements for  FuncDesigner  automatic differentiation and QP FuncDesigner now can model sparse (MI)(QC)QP Octave QP solver has been connected MATLAB solvers linprog (LP), quadprog (QP), lsqlin (LLSP), bintprog (MILP) New NLP solver: knitro Some elements of 2nd order interval analysis, mostly for interalg Some interalg improvements interalg can directly handle (MI)LP and (possibly nonconvex) (MI)(QC)QP New classes: knapsack problem (KSP), bin packing problem (BPP), dominating set problem (DSP) FuncDesigner can model SOCP…
  • new OpenOpt Suite release 0.50

    Dmitrey
    15 Jun 2013 | 8:07 am
    Hi all,I'm glad to inform you about new OpenOpt Suite release 0.50 (2013-June-15):    * interalg (solver with specifiable accuracy) now works many times (sometimes orders) faster on (possibly multidimensional) integration problems (IP) and on some optimization problems    * Add modeling dense (MI)(QC)QP in FuncDesigner (alpha-version, rendering may work slowly yet)    * Bugfix for cplex wrapper    * Some improvements for FuncDesigner interval analysis (and thus interalg)    * Add FuncDesigner interval analysis for tan in…
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    RENeW

  • Endowed Professorships at the Isenberg School of Management

    31 Aug 2014 | 2:45 pm
    Today (yes, it is a Sunday of the Labor Day weekend), we heard the good news from our Dean, Dr. Mark Fuller, via en email message, that two of our faculty have been appointed to Endowed Chaired Professorships. Specifically, Hossein B. Kazemi, a professor of finance at Isenberg, is the new Michael and Cheryl Philipp Professor of Finance.  Kazemi is actually the second holder of the Philipp Professorship - Professor Tom Schneeweis, who recently retired, was the first and assumed it in…
  • Network Science for Cybersecurity

    26 Aug 2014 | 4:51 pm
    We recently heard the good news that our project, "Cybersecurity Risk Analysis for Enterprise Security," is being funded by the Advanced Cyber Security Center (ACSC). The project team consists of - from UMass Amherst: Professor Wayne Burleson of the College of Engineering, and Professors Mila Sherman and Senay Solak from the Isenberg School of Management, plus me, and from MIT - Professor Andrew Lo of the Sloan School, who needs no introduction.  This project is actually a second step, following in the footsteps of our first ACSC project, which was a Prime the Pump project,…
  • Challenges in the Blood Industry - Opportunities for Supply Chain Redesign and Operations Research

    23 Aug 2014 | 3:48 pm
    The article by Matt Wald (who was a  classmate of mine at Brown University), "Blood Industry Hurt by Surplus" in today's The New York Times  was extremely well-researched and timely. It highlighted the new challenges faced by this critical healthcare industry and ended with the quote by Dr. Ferraris of the University of Kentucky: Every surgeon who's ever lived has seen somebody whose life was saved by a blood transfusion.Changes in medical procedures with innovations have greatly reduced the need for transfusions in the past several years, with last year's demand being about 11…
  • Ebola and Operations Research

    20 Aug 2014 | 1:58 pm
    It is impossible not to be moved by the impact of the Ebola virus on communities in western Africa with the World Health Organization (WHO) reporting a death toll of over 1,200 people.  Two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who had contracted Ebola while doing healthcare and missionary work in Liberia are now recovering at  special isolation wards at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Both were treated with the experimental drug ZMapp  and 3 doctors in Liberia, who were also given this drug, seem to be recovering.There is no cure for Ebola and the…
  • 10 Years of the Amazing UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter

    13 Aug 2014 | 1:24 pm
    This Fall, we will be marking 10 years of the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter. We will certainly let you know of any special events to mark this milestone in a celebratory manner.I thought it appropriate to reflect on the last decade as the Faculty Advisor to this award-winning student chapter and its various activities. My former doctoral student, Tina Wakolbinger, who is now a Full Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria, and who served as the chapter's President, and I decided, back in 2004, that such a chapter could bring students and faculty…
 
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