Operations Research

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  • thoughts on a PhD development course, part 1

    Punk Rock Operations Research
    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…
  • Upcoming Talk on Carbon Emissions Game

    greenOR
    or4green
    21 Oct 2014 | 4:04 am
    The Carbon Game On October 30, I will be giving a talk on a carbon emissions game I developed with Bob Day from the University of Connecticut.  I have run the game in numerous classes at the Coast Guard Academy and it has also been run by a professor at West Point.  Bob and I are working on a paper about it and as that wraps up, I hope to post more about it here over time including the rules and materials needed to run the game. Here is more information about the talk: Title:  On Decision Making in a Carbon Emissions Game Abstract: This talk describes a carbon emissions game we…
  • Photos from the INFORMS Tune-Up Today at the Isenberg School - See you in San Francisco

    RENeW
    31 Oct 2014 | 4:08 pm
    Today is Halloween but it was also the Tune-Up for the Annual INFORMS Conference,  which we started a few years ago so that our doctoral students could get to practice the talks that they would be giving at our annual conference. The event was organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.Today, we had 6 PhD student presentations and they were fabulous! What stands out is the breadth and depth of applications and methodologies that are being utilized at UMass Anherst by our PhD students in Operations Research and the Management Sciences !I took the photos below. Great to see…
  • “That which is measured, improves”

    OR at Work
    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…
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    Punk Rock Operations Research

  • 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…
  • introducing Badger Bracketology, a tool for forecasting the NCAA football playoff

    Laura McLay
    21 Oct 2014 | 6:59 am
    Today I am introducing Badger Bracketology: http://bracketology.engr.wisc.edu/ I have long been interested in football analytics, and I enjoy crunching numbers while watching the games. This year is the first season for the NCAA football playoff, where four teams will play to determine the National Champion. It’s a small bracket, but it’s a start in the right direction. The first step to being becoming the national champion is to make the playoff. To do so, a team must be one of the top four ranked teams at the end of the season. A selection committee manually ranks the teams,…
  • what I learned from preparing for a semi-plenary talk

    Laura McLay
    13 Oct 2014 | 7:17 am
    I recently blogged about a semi-plenary talk I gave at the German OR Society Conference. This post is about the process of preparing for that presentation. First I thought about the story I wanted to tell. I’ve given a lot of research talks before. I understand the general plot of a research talk, but a semi-plenary was not a regular research talk. I wasn’t initially sure how to tell a story in a new way. I asked a wise colleague for advice, which was excellent: Think about your favorite plenary talks. Model your talk after that (including the amount of math to include in the…
  • underpowered statistical tests and the myth of the myth of the hot hand

    Laura McLay
    9 Oct 2014 | 8:56 am
    In grad school, I learned about the hot hand fallacy in basketball. The so-called “hot hand” is the person whose scoring success probability is temporarily increased and therefore should shoot the ball more often (in the basketball context).I thought the myth of the hot hand effect was an amazing result: there is no such thing as a hot hand in sports, it’s just that humans are not good at evaluating streaks of successes (hot hand) or failures (slumps). Flash forward years later. I read a headline about how hand sanitizer doesn’t “work” in terms of…
  • land O links

    Laura McLay
    7 Oct 2014 | 6:29 am
    Here are a few links for your enjoyment: Does a five year old need to learn how to code? A mathematician uses statistics to predict the next Game of Thrones death. Why academics stink at writing. An operations researcher argues that airports should screen for Ebola the same way it screens for terrorists (nice job Sheldon Jacobson!). He was also interviewed on MSNBC. How diversity makes us smarter Article on why women should learn to love criticism. HT @katemath. “76 percent of the negative feedback given to women included some kind of personality criticism, such as comments that the…
 
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    greenOR

  • Upcoming Talk on Carbon Emissions Game

    or4green
    21 Oct 2014 | 4:04 am
    The Carbon Game On October 30, I will be giving a talk on a carbon emissions game I developed with Bob Day from the University of Connecticut.  I have run the game in numerous classes at the Coast Guard Academy and it has also been run by a professor at West Point.  Bob and I are working on a paper about it and as that wraps up, I hope to post more about it here over time including the rules and materials needed to run the game. Here is more information about the talk: Title:  On Decision Making in a Carbon Emissions Game Abstract: This talk describes a carbon emissions game we…
  • Battery Recycling

    or4green
    28 Sep 2014 | 1:56 pm
    I recycled this image from an earlier greenOR post. It is nice to see a battery recycling program in the works in my state of Connecticut. I learned of this from a recent article in the Danbury (CT) Republican American by Paul Singley: Connecticut environmental officials are working with battery manufacturers to come up with a bill that will be introduced in the 2015 legislative session. Connecticut and the battery industry hope it will be a model for the rest of the country. The law would cover single-use alkaline batteries as well as rechargeable ones. “This increases recycling, it…
  • 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…
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    RENeW

  • Photos from the INFORMS Tune-Up Today at the Isenberg School - See you in San Francisco

    31 Oct 2014 | 4:08 pm
    Today is Halloween but it was also the Tune-Up for the Annual INFORMS Conference,  which we started a few years ago so that our doctoral students could get to practice the talks that they would be giving at our annual conference. The event was organized by the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.Today, we had 6 PhD student presentations and they were fabulous! What stands out is the breadth and depth of applications and methodologies that are being utilized at UMass Anherst by our PhD students in Operations Research and the Management Sciences !I took the photos below. Great to see…
  • Future Transportation in a Connected World

    30 Oct 2014 | 4:48 pm
    Today was a great day for transportation!In my morning class in Logistics & Transportation, we had a surprise guest from India - a consultant in Transportation & Logistics who was in the US for the first time, and had spoken recently in Los Angeles at the International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists. Many of my undergraduate students are interested in the consulting profession and, after an introduction, they asked her numerous questions not only about consulting but also about transportation in India and the challenges. Her talk in LA was on non-motorized last mile…
  • Congrats to ALL the INFORMS Student Chapter Award Winners!

    27 Oct 2014 | 5:54 am
    One of my favorite activities is working as the Faculty Advisor to the UMass Amherst INFORMS Student Chapter.Today we heard the good news from Mr. David Hunt who is the VP of Chapters/Fora of INFORMS, which also went out to Faculty Advisors.The message read:Dear Student Chapter Officers, Congratulations! The Chapters/Fora Committee is delighted to notify you that your chapter is a winner of the INFORMS Student Chapter Annual Award at the level shown below. The purpose of these awards is to recognize the outstanding achievements of student chapters. The awards will be presented at the…
  • Having the BEST Job in the World - that of a Business Prof

    24 Oct 2014 | 1:35 pm
    I do believe that one is the sum of one's experiences and that includes all the jobs that one has ever held.In my case, that has included, during summer breaks from college (Brown University), being a camp counselor in the Catskills with memories of hiking for miles and miles and sleeping in tents with outhouses, and working at St. John's Riverside Hospital in Yonkers as a nurses' aide the 4PM to midnight shift, where I took temperatures, delivered refreshments, gave backrubs, made beds, emptied bedpans, assisted in placing the deceased in body bags, and also tried to uplift the still living…
  • Congrats to the ChoiceNet Future Internet Architecture Team on the Success of their Tutorial at GEC 21!

    21 Oct 2014 | 3:44 pm
    Today, I held a review for the midterm exam for students in my Logistics & Transportation class  plus I had office hours, so I could not take part in the GEC21 Conference at the University of Indiana.at which, as I wrote in my blogpost yesterday, our ChoiceNet project team was presenting a two part tutorial.ChoiceNet is our NSF Future Internet Architecture (FIA) project, which we have been working on for several years now. Our goal in ChoiceNet is to introduce an economy plane for the Internet.The tutorial is now over with and Professor Tilman Wolf of UMass Amherst, with whom I and…
 
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    OR at Work

  • “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…
  • The future of logistics lies in Analytics

    30 Mar 2014 | 2:40 am
    In a world in which everything and everyone is connected, in which the amount of data generated is growing faster every day and in which lifecycles of products become shorter and shorter, the need to be able to make smarter decisions is rising fast. Maybe in logistics this need is felt the most as logistics is vital in every supply chain. It requires the logistics manager to be well equipped for making though decisions. It’s my strong belief that access to data analysis, predictive and prescriptive analytics will become crucial for every manager, for the logistics manager in particular. For…
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