Operations Research

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  • Spam gets a personal touch: Human 1, Machine 1

    ThinkOR - Think Operations Research
    Dawen
    22 Nov 2014 | 8:46 pm
    Blogging and spamming practically come hand in hand. The obvious ones have been pretty well controlled by the major blogging platforms' spam filters, thanks to advances in text analysis and machine learning algorithms. However, it is not perfect, or is it - you be the judge in this case.This could be an example of how creative spammers are at combating algorithms.Or, it could be an example of a business owner trying to do his own selective SEO (search engine optimization).An old post on mandatory school uniforms got the following spam:I think school uniforms must be compulsory in schools…
  • Thinking about getting a PhD? Here are some good resources.

    Punk Rock Operations Research
    Laura McLay
    21 Nov 2014 | 9:16 am
    Part of my job is to help students figure out if grad school is for them. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few great resources for students thinking about a PhD. Here are some of my favorites. Here is a link to the first of a series of ten blog posts by Jean Yang, who decided to leave Google to attend grad school in CS at MIT. Philip Guo released an e-book on the PhD experience called The PhD Grind and has a 45 minute lecture on why to consider a PhD in CS. He has a bunch of other good posts about academic life as both a student and an assistant professor. He has a post…
  • Net Neutrality and Opening Up the Black Box

    RENeW
    19 Nov 2014 | 8:49 am
    I very much care about fairness, equity, and making sure that there is no discrimination and that also is the case for the Internet.Net neutrality is a topic that is now being fiercely debated on the news and talk shows and has many taking political sides.To many consumers, and even businesses, the Internet is a “black box,” which has revolutionized the way in which economic and social transactions and interactions are conducted, entertainment is obtained and experienced, communications are done, and numerous educational activities participated in. If one were to ask Internet users to…
  • Let the data do the talking

    OR at Work
    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…
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    ThinkOR - Think Operations Research

  • Spam gets a personal touch: Human 1, Machine 1

    Dawen
    22 Nov 2014 | 8:46 pm
    Blogging and spamming practically come hand in hand. The obvious ones have been pretty well controlled by the major blogging platforms' spam filters, thanks to advances in text analysis and machine learning algorithms. However, it is not perfect, or is it - you be the judge in this case.This could be an example of how creative spammers are at combating algorithms.Or, it could be an example of a business owner trying to do his own selective SEO (search engine optimization).An old post on mandatory school uniforms got the following spam:I think school uniforms must be compulsory in schools…
  • What I learned from a sabbatical year

    Dawen
    10 Feb 2014 | 5:10 pm
    I spent 2013 'overlanding' through South America with my partner. 1 year, 1 continent, 1 simple car, 2 people, 13 countries, 40,000 km. After moving from Canada to the UK 5 years ago, and setting up a new life there, we gave up our jobs, salary, friends and all the comforts of life in one of the greatest metropolis in the world. A lot to let go, but we gained so much more.Above all, I learned how little I need to live on to be happy, material-wise. We converted the back of our little van into a bed, so we slept in it a lot of the nights. Wild camping at some bizarre and cool spots, like…
  • Finally Some Sense on Analytics & Data Science Job Ads

    Dawen
    23 Jan 2014 | 3:03 pm
    After yesterday's post on the state of the debate on building data science teams (individual vs team approach), it's so refreshing to stumble onto this careers page of Civis Analytics. Great example of Analytics & data science job ads done right. This page alone makes me want to apply to work there!They actually divide their jobs into: data scientist, engagement analyst, project manager, software engineer!How sensible. I like it! Nothing like the typical data science job posts, asking for "everything and the kitchen sink". This article was originally posted on ThinkOR.org. Share…
  • Building Data Science Teams: Individuals vs Team - State of the Debate So Far

    Dawen
    22 Jan 2014 | 2:59 pm
    Since my last article on "Hiring 1 Data Science unicorn is hard enough, a team is impossible. To scale means to specialise", similar ideas have been expressed by InformationWeek, McKinsey/HBR, and KDnuggets (here, here, here and here).There has a been a ton of great discussion. I attempt to summarise the viewpoints so far: Data Scientists are supposed to have some pretty deep expertise in some pretty hard areas (see diagram). Is it possible to close this talent gap when we seem to be chasing after superheroes or unicorns? (there are some, but very few)Some (44%)…
  • Hiring 1 Data Science unicorn is hard enough, a team is impossible. To scale means to specialise.

    Dawen
    16 Dec 2013 | 7:25 am
    The Data Scientists need a large set of skills, including business know-how, modelling and mathematics, plus programming. They are as hard to find as unicorns, or superheroes. I know this talent shortage first hand. Is the solution to create more unicorns, or can we devise better solutions?In my last role as a managing consultant in the Operations Research and Analytics team of a large global consultancy, I also ran recruitment. Having spoken to or met 150-200 of such candidates personally, and my recruitment team saw multiples of this number, I can tell you not many of those…
 
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    Punk Rock Operations Research

  • Thinking about getting a PhD? Here are some good resources.

    Laura McLay
    21 Nov 2014 | 9:16 am
    Part of my job is to help students figure out if grad school is for them. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a few great resources for students thinking about a PhD. Here are some of my favorites. Here is a link to the first of a series of ten blog posts by Jean Yang, who decided to leave Google to attend grad school in CS at MIT. Philip Guo released an e-book on the PhD experience called The PhD Grind and has a 45 minute lecture on why to consider a PhD in CS. He has a bunch of other good posts about academic life as both a student and an assistant professor. He has a post…
  • how to seat guests at a wedding

    Laura McLay
    18 Nov 2014 | 10:51 am
    How to optimally seat people at a wedding. SAS started an operations research blog [Link]. Matthew Galati’s first entry is how to optimally seat people at a wedding given assignment preferences. He provides a model that maximizes the total happiness of his guests. His blog post has code, data, and a pictures of a quirky family member or two. It’s a great post worth checking out. I’ve written about optimization for weddings before. I blogged about a paper entitled “Finding an Optimal Seating Chart” in the Annals of Improbable Research by Meghan L. Bellows and J. D.
  • how to forecast an election using simulation: a case study for teaching operations research

    Laura McLay
    4 Nov 2014 | 10:16 am
    After extensively blogging about the 2012 Presidential election and analytical models used to forecast the election (go here for links to some of these old posts), I decided to create a case study on Presidential election forecasting using polling data. This blog post is about this case study. I originally developed the case study for an undergraduate course on math modeling that used Palisade Decision Tools like @RISK. I retooled the spreadsheet for my undergraduate course in simulation in Spring 2014 to not rely on @RISK. All materials available in the Files tab. The basic idea is that…
  • election analytics roundup

    Laura McLay
    4 Nov 2014 | 5:22 am
    Here are a few election related links: Eva Regnier at the Naval Postgraduate School has a bootstrapping forecast model for the US Senate election. Her model uses forecasts from Simon Jackson and Drew Linzer. Information about the upcoming election (usually polling results) becomes available over time, and this information produces a sequence of probability forecasts for each race. Eva writes, “I suspect that these probability sequences are not optimal, i.e. they could perform better with respect to single-period probabilistic scoring rules, using the information they have available. I…
  • thoughts on a PhD development course, part 1

    Laura McLay
    30 Oct 2014 | 6:25 am
    I am teaching a 1 credit hour PhD development course for industrial and systems engineering students at the University of Wisconsin Madison. I am teaching the course with librarian Ryan Schryver, who is using the course to replace his office hours that students never came to. He found that students were not asking the questions that they needed to ask. Additionally, the department has a goal of exposing students to research and people across the department, but we have found that our students work in their labs with few interactions with students in operations research, manufacturing, human…
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    RENeW

  • Net Neutrality and Opening Up the Black Box

    19 Nov 2014 | 8:49 am
    I very much care about fairness, equity, and making sure that there is no discrimination and that also is the case for the Internet.Net neutrality is a topic that is now being fiercely debated on the news and talk shows and has many taking political sides.To many consumers, and even businesses, the Internet is a “black box,” which has revolutionized the way in which economic and social transactions and interactions are conducted, entertainment is obtained and experienced, communications are done, and numerous educational activities participated in. If one were to ask Internet users to…
  • Amazing Management Science PhD Students at the Isenberg School of Management (Present and Past)

    16 Nov 2014 | 7:29 am
    The strength and intellectual vitality of any college or university depends on the quality of its students and faculty, as well as programs.In the case of a university, in particular, doctoral students add to knowledge discovery and generation and bring energy in terms of curiosity, ideas, critical thinking, and problem-solving.I continue to be impressed by the quality of the doctoral students at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and, in particular, by those in the Management Science track that I work closely with. To-date,  I have had the joy of chairing 17 doctoral…
  • Supernetwork Center Associate Reunion at INFORMS San Francisco

    14 Nov 2014 | 11:18 am
    Conferences at which you get a chance to see in person wonderful collaborators, colleagues, and former students are always my favorites and, of course, the venue is also important.The 2014 INFORMS conference was fabulous and served as a great venue at which many of the Supernetwork Center Associates got together face to face. Although not everyone could be there, including Professor Dmytro Matsypura of the University of Sydney in Australia (a regular at this conference) and Professor Patrizia Daniele of the University of Catania in Italy, as well as Dr. Stavros Siokos, Sciens CEO of London,…
  • Recognizing and Celebrating Outstanding Female Operations Researchers and Analytics Professionals

    13 Nov 2014 | 4:00 pm
    There are truly amazing female academicians and professionals in our field.At the 2014 INFORMS conference, which finished yesterday, we had the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of several amazing women.In recognizing and celebrating them, we provide support also to younger generations, in the form of wonderful role models.This past Tuesday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the Fora/Chapters breakfast at which the Moving Spirit Award was given as well as the Judith B. Liebman Award.  The Liebman award was given out to great student leaders:  Michelle…
  • Congrats to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter on its 9th National Award!

    13 Nov 2014 | 1:50 pm
    Late yesterday I returned to Amherst from the INFORMS Annual Conference, which took place in San Francisco. Several of our PhD students took the red-eye shuttle and returned this morning!The conference was wonderful and a highlight was watching our students from the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter, which is based at the Isenberg School, being recognized for their hard work with the cum laude award from INFORMS for their chapter activities. This year, the chapter received its 9th award in a row, which I suspect must be a record. The chapter's members are graduate students from the…
 
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    OR at Work

  • 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…
  • When data gets Big, it becomes complicated

    30 Jul 2014 | 2:48 am
    It goes without saying that we live in a data-rich era; data is no longer a scarce resource. The number of devices connected to the internet is growing every day, increasing the growth rate of data even further. Technology providers urge organisations to invest in IT infrastructure and software to capture all that data with the potential of generating new insights, competitive advantage and increased revenues. To capture these advantages, data needs to be transformed into actionable insights and requires organisations to develop the right analytical capabilities. However, technology and…
  • Balancing today’s decisions against tomorrow’s conditions

    30 May 2014 | 11:15 am
    As organisations move up Tom Davenports’ analytics maturity curve, they encounter new challenges in using the insights from data analysis and optimisation models.  Today, the majority of organisations use descriptive analytics to create insights on what has happened. Also the use of diagnostic analytics to understand why things have happened is becoming more common. Moving up the curve towards predictive and prescriptive analytics is more difficult and requires the development of more advanced analytical capabilities. Gartner surveys indicate that about 13% of the companies are using…
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