Operations Research

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  • operations research for drug policy and addiction

    Punk Rock Operations Research
    Laura McLay
    21 Jan 2015 | 6:28 am
    I enjoyed listening to Jon Caulkins’ Omega Rho lecture at the INFORMS Annual Meeting. The abstract for the talk is: Operations Research in Service of Drug and Addictions Policy: Lessons from and for the Discipline of Operations Research Jonathan P.Caulkins H.Guyford Stever Professorship of Operations Research and Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University I am an OR missionary. I have carried our tools and perspectives into the fields of drug policy and addiction. When traveling far afield, one often encounters opportunities to do good by applying what seem to be quite basic precepts back…
  • what are the odds of 3+ people winning the lottery?

    Punk Rock Operations Research
    Laura McLay
    29 Jan 2015 | 7:17 am
    I was on the 10 o’clock evening news last night on NBC15 Madison to talk about the odds of three people in Dane County winning the Supercash! lottery. There are about half a million residents, and I have no idea how many people play the lottery every day, but I was able to do a few quick back of the envelope calculations If everyone in Dane County plays the lottery every day (unrealistic!) then we would expect 3+ people to win in a single day to happen every 0.71 years. If half of everyone in Dane County plays the lottery every day (almost all the adults, still unrealistic!) then…
  • Isenberg School of Management Prominent in UMass Amherst Annual Report on Research

    RENeW
    30 Jan 2015 | 10:59 am
    Today, I received the hardcopy of the UMass Amherst Annual Report on Research, which is an elegantly produced and very informative report, thanks to the Editor, Karen J. Hayes.The report begins with a message from our Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement (VCRE), Dr. Mike Malone, who also is the Ronnie & Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Research awards topped $165.5 million this year, which is quite impressive.In the report is a segment called Faculty Bookshelf, which I always enjoy browsing through, and this year, 5 out of the 20 books featured are by…
  • Is Big Data Objective, Truthful and Credible?

    OR at Work
    18 Jan 2015 | 8:34 am
    In the past few years the attention for big data has grown enormously. Both business and science are focused on the use of large datasets to find answers to previously unsolvable questions. In the size of the data there seems to hide some kind of magic, which will answer any question that can be imagined. As former Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson puts it: “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.” As if massive data sets and some predictive analytics always will reflect the objective truth. But can big data really deliver on that promise? Is big data objective,…
  • Stop confusing: Accountability vs. Responsibility vs. Authority!

    TightShip
    duncan
    29 Jan 2015 | 12:15 am
    Within a business context these three terms are almost always confused, interchanged and usually poorly understood. In a recent interview with Verne Harnish we talked through this in some detail. What some other ‘experts’ say There are plenty of examples which conflict with each other and that I believe are completely incorrect and in a lot of cases the definitions totally conflict with themselves: Paul Gillard, PhD & Rachel Radwinsky, PhD here think to be accountable is to be held culpable for your actions, even that “If you are responsible for something, you are also…
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    Punk Rock Operations Research

  • what are the odds of 3+ people winning the lottery?

    Laura McLay
    29 Jan 2015 | 7:17 am
    I was on the 10 o’clock evening news last night on NBC15 Madison to talk about the odds of three people in Dane County winning the Supercash! lottery. There are about half a million residents, and I have no idea how many people play the lottery every day, but I was able to do a few quick back of the envelope calculations If everyone in Dane County plays the lottery every day (unrealistic!) then we would expect 3+ people to win in a single day to happen every 0.71 years. If half of everyone in Dane County plays the lottery every day (almost all the adults, still unrealistic!) then…
  • operations research for drug policy and addiction

    Laura McLay
    21 Jan 2015 | 6:28 am
    I enjoyed listening to Jon Caulkins’ Omega Rho lecture at the INFORMS Annual Meeting. The abstract for the talk is: Operations Research in Service of Drug and Addictions Policy: Lessons from and for the Discipline of Operations Research Jonathan P.Caulkins H.Guyford Stever Professorship of Operations Research and Public Policy Carnegie Mellon University I am an OR missionary. I have carried our tools and perspectives into the fields of drug policy and addiction. When traveling far afield, one often encounters opportunities to do good by applying what seem to be quite basic precepts back…
  • Some thoughts on the College Football Playoff

    Laura McLay
    20 Jan 2015 | 7:37 am
    After a fun year of Badger Bracketology, I wanted to reflect upon the college football playoff. Nate Silver reflects upon the playoff in an article on FiveThirtyEight, and he touches on the two most salient issues in the playoff: False negatives: leaving teams with a credible case for being named the national championship out of the playoff. False positives: “undeserving” teams in the playoff. As the number of teams in the playoff increases, the number of false negatives decreases (good – this allows us to have a chance of selecting the “right” national…
  • great mathy popular science books

    Laura McLay
    10 Dec 2014 | 6:04 am
    At the end of the semester, I often recommend fun popular science books to my students about how to approach problems and make better decisions using math, operations research, and critical and quantitative reasoning. My list is growing. Here is my list in no particular order. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis. This is a great introduction to building models, collecting data, finding “bargains” in the market, drawing conclusions from the models, and differentiating between a good process and good outcomes. Everyone should read Moneyball. Scorecasting:…
  • some students don’t learn a whole lot in college

    Laura McLay
    9 Dec 2014 | 7:02 am
    A few years ago, researchers Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa released a book called “Academically Adrift” that claims that many students don’t leave college with new knowledge and new skills [Link to an article in the Chronicle]: Here is what they found: Growing numbers of students are sent to college at increasingly higher costs, but for a large proportion of them the gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication are either exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent. At least 45 percent of students in our sample did not demonstrate any…
 
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    RENeW

  • Isenberg School of Management Prominent in UMass Amherst Annual Report on Research

    30 Jan 2015 | 10:59 am
    Today, I received the hardcopy of the UMass Amherst Annual Report on Research, which is an elegantly produced and very informative report, thanks to the Editor, Karen J. Hayes.The report begins with a message from our Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement (VCRE), Dr. Mike Malone, who also is the Ronnie & Eugene Isenberg Distinguished Professor of Engineering. Research awards topped $165.5 million this year, which is quite impressive.In the report is a segment called Faculty Bookshelf, which I always enjoy browsing through, and this year, 5 out of the 20 books featured are by…
  • Faculty Job Candidates Need to be Resilient - Some Helpful Tips

    27 Jan 2015 | 1:19 pm
    This has been quite the week with winterstorm Juno resulting in the cancellation of over 7,000 flights in the U.S.Today, UMass Amherst and many other universities and colleges were closed in the Northeast because of what was forecast to be a blizzard of historical proportions but, luckily, it did not quite earn that title in either NYC or Boston and we even managed to go out for a nice walk in Amherst once our driveway and street got plowed! The beautiful island of Nantucket, however,  did get hit fiercely and is without power.This week was also the week in which we had scheduled…
  • A Great Week for Our Research on Networks

    25 Jan 2015 | 12:37 pm
    Last week was the first week of the new academic semester at UMass Amherst and it was a very exciting one.I always very much enjoy meeting new students in the courses that I am teaching.Plus, it was a great week for news on our research on Networks.One of the best things about collaborations, besides the synergy and dynamism of researching tough problems together, is that, when one gets good news, such as a paper getting accepted, or hearing of its publication, and/or some great publicity about the work, you can share it and celebrate together - even if it is across the miles!This week, Luis…
  • Hosting Amazing Speakers in Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare

    21 Jan 2015 | 4:34 am
    Today is the first class meeting for my course, Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare, a course that I taught last year at the Isenberg School. I have also taught an intense version of this course at the Vienna University of Economics and Business in Austria and have been invited to offer it there again.Logistics is one of my passions and Humanitarian Logistics is a subject that is not only extremely timely but also very challenging from multiple perspectives. Hence, it is a topic that is interdisciplinary and is continuing to evolve.An important, and much appreciated part of the course, by…
  • Future Internet Infrastructure Research at UMass Amherst and at the Isenberg School

    20 Jan 2015 | 11:10 am
    I was delighted to hear this morning from Karen Hayes, the Director of Research Communications and Outreach, that the Feature Article, UMass Amherst experts are driving the future of Internet infrastructure, is now online on the ResearchNext website.The faculty from Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Isenberg School of Management that appear in the article were interviewed last summer.It is truly amazing that at UMass Amherst there are two (out of the five) funded National Science Foundation (NSF) Future Internet Architecture (FIA) projects. As the article notes,…
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    OR at Work

  • Is Big Data Objective, Truthful and Credible?

    18 Jan 2015 | 8:34 am
    In the past few years the attention for big data has grown enormously. Both business and science are focused on the use of large datasets to find answers to previously unsolvable questions. In the size of the data there seems to hide some kind of magic, which will answer any question that can be imagined. As former Wired editor-in-chief Chris Anderson puts it: “with enough data, the numbers speak for themselves.” As if massive data sets and some predictive analytics always will reflect the objective truth. But can big data really deliver on that promise? Is big data objective,…
  • The Age of Algorithms started on a diet

    8 Dec 2014 | 12:45 am
    With the exponential growth of interest in data analytics, either big or small, the attention for the use of algorithms has risen strongly as well. An algorithm is nothing more than a step-by-step procedure for a calculation.  That is also what makes it so powerful. Algorithms make our lives easier. Recommendations engines single out the product we have been looking for based on our previous purchases and those of buyers similar to us. The NESTthermostat programs itself and continually adapts to our changing life. Facebookselects the news items that are of interest to us, based on what…
  • Let the data do the talking

    22 Nov 2014 | 9:05 am
    Although the principles of scientific management from Frederick Taylor have long become obsolete, many parts of the theory are still important for organisations today. When was the last time you were involved in a project concerned with efficiency improvement, the elimination of waste or the identification of best practices?  These are just a few topics from scientific management that are still part of industrial engineering and everyday management decision making. Key for the success of these kinds of projects is to have (or obtain) an in depth understanding of the work processes that…
  • “That which is measured, improves”

    26 Oct 2014 | 10:34 am
    Some people attribute the above law to Karl Pearson, a famous statistician and founder of mathematical statistics. Others attribute it to Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant. The source of the above law is however not very relevant. The fact that most people believe it to be true is one of the fundamentals of modern decision making and a driving force behind the increasing use of analytical and optimisation methods to improve organisational performance.  Without measurement it is difficult to assess an organisation’s performance, set measurable objectives and makes…
  • CAP® Certified!

    1 Oct 2014 | 9:14 am
    I just returned from taking the Certified Analytics Professional assessment which I…..(drumroll).… passed! YEAH! Nailed it! Want proof? Here is the confirmation from INFORMS:You might think why does someone with nearly 25 years of experience in using analytics/operations research techniques to solve all kinds of business problems want to get certified? Isn’t experience enough and wouldn’t the assessment be a simple tick in the box for someone like him? Well, it isn’t. As I sat down at the computer of the Kryterion testing centre in Arnhem, I felt very uncomfortable. What if I…
 
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    TightShip

  • Stop confusing: Accountability vs. Responsibility vs. Authority!

    duncan
    29 Jan 2015 | 12:15 am
    Within a business context these three terms are almost always confused, interchanged and usually poorly understood. In a recent interview with Verne Harnish we talked through this in some detail. What some other ‘experts’ say There are plenty of examples which conflict with each other and that I believe are completely incorrect and in a lot of cases the definitions totally conflict with themselves: Paul Gillard, PhD & Rachel Radwinsky, PhD here think to be accountable is to be held culpable for your actions, even that “If you are responsible for something, you are also…
  • Making your customer choose you first with Jeremy Miller

    duncan
    27 Jan 2015 | 8:08 am
    Working in his family business in 2004 Jeremy Miller found himself faced with a problem: Declining revenue despite increased sales activity. As a sales person his natural reaction was to pick up the phone and start dialling. When that didn’t work he turned to marketing and branding. Just 9 years later he was able to sell the business and embarked on a 10 year study of what makes a ‘Sticky Brand’. I talked to Jeremy about how some companies he profiled managed to overcome challenging markets and how execution was tied in. His new book ‘Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles…
  • How to scale up and dominate your industry with Verne Harnish

    duncan
    21 Jan 2015 | 7:45 am
    This week it’s been my pleasure to interview Verne Harnish bestselling author of The Rockerfeller habits about his new book ‘Scaling-up, how a few companies make and why the rest don’t. We’re talking about what it takes to grow a business into an industry leader. In the interview we go through actionable tactics that you can put into use in your organisation and some of the examples that Verne has encountered through his work. b His new book ‘Scaling-up: How a few businesses make and why the rest don’t’ is available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle &…
  • How MOO is dealing with growth of over 40% a year with COO John Kennedy

    duncan
    13 Jan 2015 | 2:08 am
    In 2007 I interviewed the founder of MOO Richard Moross, at that point they were just entering the US market and had 50 employees. Now well over 250 employee mark and significantly bigger, I went back to talk to their new COO John Kennedy to try to understand how they’ve been dealing with their incredible growth. MOO is a design business that believes that everyone should be able to represent themselves or their businesses better through awesome business cards and “mini-cards”. Interview Audio only John Kennedy, MOO John is the COO of MOO and has previous experience running…
  • Welcome to the TightShip Podcast!

    duncan
    2 Jan 2015 | 7:16 am
    Welcome to our new podcast. I’ve spent a while looking around the internet to find good operations management content and haven’t found it. After talking to some founders, CEOs and authors we’ve decided that we’re going to make this a regular feature. Stay tuned for some great interviews and inside information on how to keep a tight ship! Intro TightShip intro Audio only       Transcript Welcome tightship my name is Duncan Malcolm and I’m the founder of Tightship. We’re doing a series of interviews with some really interesting people.
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