|Today's Guest Tour -- Tuesday, October 14, 9:00am-1:00pm $50
World War II Memorial & U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
The World War II Memorial honors those who served in the armed forces of the U.S. during World War II. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is dedicated to presenting the history of the persecution and murder of six million Jews and of other victims from 1933 to 1945.The permanent exhibition presents a comprehensive history of the Holocaust through artifacts, photographs, films and eyewitness testimonies.
Note: Go to Registration Desk for additional information and to inquire about availability.
|Nobel Laureate Myerson Revisits Ancient Economics Through Mechanism Design
By Ari Mukherjee
|Dr. Roger B. Myerson, the 2007 Nobel Prize winner in economics, delivered his plenary speech to INFORMS on Monday. His topic was 'Perspectives on Mechanism Design in Economic Theory.'
"There were far many more people here to listen to me than for my Nobel lecture in Stockholm," Dr. Myerson said, referring to the response at the 2008 INFORMS Annual Meeting. After his speech, students and economic aficionados thronged Dr. Myerson to speak with him.
One of them was Alexander Gutfraind, a graduate student from Cornell University who studies networks.
"It was a very interesting talk by Roger Myerson," Gutfraind said. "In particular, he showed how economics is an optimization problem, the kind of problem you would study here in INFORMS. He makes us look at other constraints, not just resource constraints. He cast game theory over the constraint satisfaction problem, where we look at incentives and information."
Nicole Immorlica, another student inspired by Dr. Myerson, is from Northwestern University. She thought the 'game theorist' succeeded in giving concrete examples to illustrate the core of economics.
"It was fascinating to get into the capitalism vs. socialism debate here. Each of these systems can be analyzed by looking at Myserson's simplistic models and depending on what you are more concerned about, moral hazard or informational incentives constraints, different systems would turn out to be better than previously thought," Immorlica said.
Dr. Myerson's speech shed a unique perspective on economics that traced its roots back to ancient Greece, perhaps the way Plato interpreted his economics.
"We have returned to the breadth of vision of first ancient economists," he said, referring to the point in time when economics was defined by the allocation of material goods. Now it covers all questions about incentives in institutions. With mechanism and game theory, Dr. Myerson said, we can analyze competitive incentive problems in both markets and politics.
On capitalism, the Nobel laureate concluded that the cases of collectivism and private ownership may depend on trade-offs between moral hazards and adverse selection incentive problems.
At the request of INFORMS, Dr. Myerson delivered the same speech he gave after receiving the Nobel Prize in 2007.
|Washington Area Math Teachers Attend INFORMS Workshop
By Ari Mukherjee
|INFORMS held a workshop on Monday to train high school math teachers to devise a mathematic syllabus that motivates high school students to learn algebra with concrete and real-life examples.
"This workshop is the lynchpin activity of the INFORMS Annual Meeting. It trains local area teachers to encourage more high school students to take math and become successful in college and step into the business world," said Ret. Col. Frank Trippi, the principal coordinator of the workshop.
David Williamson, a Math teacher at WT Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia, was one of the participants of the workshop.
"We've been given information about the use of OR and the tools to teach in the classroom. This will enable us to incorporate some of the real world problems into the classroom. It would be in a context that students can relate to and something that'll create their interest in math. We can use formulas and equations to solve real world problems," Williamson said.
Each participant gets teaching materials that consist of a textbook, videos, and other handout materials that will help teachers implement the syllabus in their respective schools. Students receiving the instruction, for example, learn to schedule workers at a mythical pizza parlor and develop a product mix at a fictional shoe factory. They also look at case studies of OR/MS from the files of companies like United Airlines, Nabisco, and McDonald's; the U.S. Department of Defense; and companies based in China and Mexico.
The program is being developed in order to motivate students to learn concepts that seem far removed from their daily lives but are applied routinely in business and government.
The basic study material is designed for introductory algebra and the extensions can be used for more advanced grade levels. The initial modules provide material related to linear programming, a fundamental mathematical model used in OR/MS.
|Optimization is Key for Two Projects Presented for Wagner Prize Competition
By Dawen Peng
|How should EUROCONTROL select improvement projects to invest in for a unified European sky for air traffic by the year 2020? Should Ford's Automotive Holding Components shut down their facilities and outsource everything? Optimization models come to the rescue in at least two of the seven final projects presented for the Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research.
Air traffic is becoming increasingly congested in Europe, and a solution is needed to unite the European sky with a single set of protocols for all EU countries. EUROCONTROL is in the position to do so. It is the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, and it currently has 37 member states. As a part of the modernization activities, EUROCONTROL needs to select a set of technological improvement projects from four major categories: network efficiency, airport operations, sector productivity, and safety net.
For example, if considering only a subset of five projects out of a list of more than 20, each with two to five implementation options, there would be 300 possible combinations. The question is, which set of projects should be selected to satisfy the various objectives and constraints of multiple stakeholders, such as airports, airlines, society (environment), and more? EUROCONTROL asked Yael Grushka's team from the London Business School to provide vigorous and transparent analysis of this problem by involving all stakeholders. The team used an integrative and iterative framework to approach the problem - a mixed integer programming model to find the optimal combination of projects. As a result of his team's effort, the EU may now use the same language to talk about uniting the European sky with a common understanding of the problem.
The Ford team, headed by Erica Klampfl, had a very different but extremely urgent problem to solve. They needed to figure out whether two of their automotive interior supply production facilities should be closed down and their work outsourced to other suppliers because of unprofitability and underutilization at the plants. They were charged with a challenge: an eight-week deadline to solve a very large optimization problem.
The mixed-integer non-linear programming model (MINLP) had around 450,000 variables and 200,000 constraints. After removing nonlinearity in the model, the MIP had 4.3 million variables and 1.8 million constraints. Just imagine the data gathering process and the model formulation! What a nightmare.
Luckily, the team had unconditional support from the CEO and was able to obtain a complete set of data - 150,000 data points in the model. After eight weeks of 20-hour days, the team was able to deliver a model to test out the 'what-if' scenarios and therefore remove the subjective decision making that is so common in most enterprises. As a result, Ford will be able to maintain one facility and outsource only a certain percentage of the work. It presented a savings of $50 million over five years compared to the alternative of outsourcing all the work.
These two projects showcased the importance of quantitative decision making in business. The winning entry, one of seven finalists, will be announced Tuesday morning.
|Social Media in OR: Data Crunching With Wikipedia and Blogs
By Dawen Peng
|Social media and Web 2.0 have been buzz words in the Internet marketing world for a few years now. Of course, we can count on readers of the new Stephen Baker book, The Numerati, to start scratching their heads to eventually develop systematic ways of mining vast amounts of data (i.e. analytics), before applying the harvest of knowledge from other disciplines, such as psychology, to study people's behaviors (hence diverting from the non-traditional OR application field of mechanical processes). Claudia Perlich from IBM and Sanmay Das from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute individually explain ways they have used OR to dissect the world of blogs and Wikipedia to provide insight to marketers and to demonstrate the conversion of Wikipedia's highly edited pages to a stable and credible source.
Ever since the existence of blogs, marketers have been nervous about the reputation of their products. Lucky for the IBM, when their marketers are nervous about the client response to their product (i.e. Lotus), help is within reach from the IBM Research team.
Marketers want to know:
Perlich's team went about these four questions by starting with a small set of blogs identified by the marketers as the core "snowball" of blogs, then "rolling" over the "snowball" twice to discover other blogs related the core set (i.e. max 2 degrees of separation from the core). To find the authoritative sources in the snowball, Google's Page Rank algorithm came to the rescue. Using sentiment labeling, the team was able to say whether the overall message of a blog was positive or negative. Then, to allow useful interaction with and leveraging of the data by the users (i.e. marketers), a visual representation was rendered to show the general trend in the blogosphere about the product in question (see image). Then marketers are able to dig into each blog that is identified as positive or negative, and the problem would seem much more manageable.
- What are the relevant blogs?
- Who are the influencers?
- What are they saying about us?
- What are the emerging trends in the broad-topic space?
Das' talk fits in rather nicely with Perlich's, as he examines the trend of blog comment activities and Wikipedia's edit histories to demonstrate the eventual conversion of these information sources to a stable state. The underlying assumptions are that the more edits a Wikipedia page has, the more reliable its information is, hence the higher the quality; and the higher the quality a page is, the less likely that there will be more talks/edits on it, because most likely what needed to be said has already been said (aka, informational limit). Das obtained the data dump of all pages on Wikipedia in May 2008, and obtained all 15,000 pages (out of 13.5 million in total) that had over 1,000 edits. Using dynamic programming to model a stochastic process, Das was able to find a model for the edit rate of an aggregation of these highly edited Wikipedia pages. Then he applied the same model to blog comment activities. In both cases, the model fit extremely well to the data, and surprisingly, the shape of the activity pattern over time looked very similar to the blog comment and Wikipedia page edit activities. An interesting inference made by Das was that people contribute less of their knowledge to Wikipedia pages than blogs.
This is the beauty of OR - it is a horizontal plane that one can cut through and apply to many sciences and industries. Aren't you proud to be a dynamic Numerati?
|Monday Keynote - One Vote, One Value: The Majority Judgment
By Dawen Peng
|Could Al Gore have been the President of the United States if the electoral voting system was different? Could we have had a different world champion in figure skating if the ranking system was different? "Maybe," says, a distinguished, multi-award winning professor and now the Directeur de Recherche de classe exceptionnelle, Ecole Polytechnique and CNRS, Paris. The pending U.S. patent of the proposed majority judgment voting system by Balinski and Rida Laraki is claimed to be a more accurate reflection of the public's (or a jury's) true desires. As well, the process is promised to be fairer than the traditional voting/ranking systems.
Balinski describes the traditional voting/electoral system as trying to elect the Condorcet winner. In basic terms, the Condorcet winner is the candidate preferred by the majority of voters, informally within a two-candidate election. However, such a winner may not exist because of the Condorcet's paradox and Arrow's impossibility theorem. Balinski argues that we could do better with the majority judgment voting process.
An experiment to test the idea was conducted in the 2007 French Presidential election. The ballot contained a list of all electoral candidates, and voters were asked to rate each candidate as one of the following: excellent, very good, good, acceptable, poor, or reject. These rankings are of "common language" to all French voters because the schools have always used them. (It should be noted that in order for this method to work, a common language of grades should be established; without it, a collective decision would not exist. Similar common languages include star ratings (1 to 5 stars) for movies and restaurants, and letter grading (A to F) for school grades.)
Summing or averaging the scores would not make sense, because it is not an interval measures, according to Balinski. Therefore, he proposes that the set of grades each candidate receives be ordered from the best to the worst in order to obtain the median grade (the 3rd of a total of 5 grades, for example, or the 4th of a total of 6). If all candidates are tied in the first round, the method would be repeated until the tie is broken; each time, the median grade (the 3rd or the 4th grade) should be removed for each candidate's set of grades. The final grades would become the majority grade.
Balinski claims that this voting system would produce a much more reflective result of the voter's desires, and his testing backs his theory. In the experiment done in three of the Orsay's voting bureaus in France, the voters were able to tell who each of the three candidates was by looking at the final majority grades of the top three presidential candidates.
When studies show that a third of the voters do not state a single preferred presidential candidate, one questions whether it is correct to force voters to vote for only one candidate on a ballot. And, if such existing systems do not work well, shouldn't we be inclined to try new methods? After all, aren't we an adaptive and ever-changing society? But hey, if it doesn't work, we can always chuck it away. What have we got to lose?
|Expert Discusses Innovative Methods Required for U.S. Army Challenges
By Ari Mukherjee
|Maj. Gen. David D. Halverson's primary job is to make critical decisions for the U.S. Army and he's glad operation research is around.
"I have been solving a lot of problems," he said on Monday, "and when you're dealing with high-level and national issues, it helps to have quantitative tools to make the most informed decision. The beauty of operations research is that it takes real-world issues and tries to solve them in the most efficient and effective way."
America's security requirements have increased significantly in the last decade. The cost of equipping a soldier, for example, during World War II was $1,981. Today it is a whopping $17,472. With more than 1.1 million people in the U.S. Army today, you don't have to do the math to know that it's expensive.
Halverson, the Director of Force Development, G-8, holds a Master of Science degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School. He delivered his practice INFORMS keynote under the Military Application Society's plenary practice section. His presentation 'Innovative Methods Required for Future Challenges' outlined the ways the U.S. military plans to implement OR and system analysis in the future. One of the challenges is to optimize the capabilities of the forces provided by fielding future combat systems at an affordable cost.
Experts have already predicted a period of protracted and persistent confrontation for the next 20 years among state, non-state, and individual actors who use violence to achieve their political and ideological ends. Given this setting, the U.S. Army is developing a viable combination of alternative material and non-material solutions based on revised strategic guidance and doctrine.
An important area where the army has deployed OR to solve a real-world problem is in the countering or monitoring of improvised explosive devices, better known as IEDs. OR is helping the military develop a conceptual design for a robust sensor system that is used to quickly and accurately detect changes in an area of interest that would lead to the optimization of IED placement.
Haverson says the U.S. Army is undertaking a quantum leap forward in modern warfare and the quantitative tools will help them take meaningful and critical decisions "in an era of persistent combat."
|2008 INFORMS Fellows Inducted On Monday
|Twelve new INFORMS Fellows were inducted at the Fellows Luncheon on Monday, October 13. Congratulations to the New Fellows:
Ravindra K. Ahuja
Dr. Robert F. Bordley
Frieda Granot (Silber)
Richard Earle Nance
Gregory S. Parnell
Steven M. Shugan
Ruth J. Williams
The Fellow Award is reserved for distinguished individuals who have
demonstrated outstanding and exceptional accomplishments and experience
contributions of a nominee are evaluated in each of the following
Contributions to all of these areas are evaluated, but in at
least one area contributions must be truly outstanding. With rare
exception, the nominee's contributions should extend over a period of
years and not be limited to a single result. Except for very rare
cases, because the award recipient is named an INFORMS Fellow, some
service to INFORMS is a prerequisite for all nominees. Thanks to all of our Fellows for their contributions to INFORMS.
- Research includes theoretical, empirical, or computational innovations in OR/MS;
Practice includes substantial application of OR/MS to significant practical problems;
Management includes significant responsibility for and
direction of the development and application of OR/MS techniques and
knowledge, within an organization of any type (e.g. academic,
for-profit, nonprofit, governmental, military, health care), over an
extended period of time, that have had a major impact internal and/or
external to the organization;
Education includes activities that had significant impact on the growth and development of OR/MS education;
Service includes significant work over an extended period
of time on behalf of INFORMS and its functions and/or significant
contributions that advanced the stature and recognition of the OR/MS
|Paul Brooks Wins Monday's Interactive Session
|Paul Brooks, from Virginia Commonwealth University, won today's interactive session and a $750 prize with his display entitled, "MetModel GUI: Software for Building Optimization-Based Models of Cellular Metabolism." MetModel GUI is software for building and analyzing linear programming-based models of cellular metabolism. The models can be used to generate testable hypotheses about the effects of genetic engineering on an organism. Examples of applications include determining how a cellulose-consuming bacterium can be engineered to produce more ethanol, or determining which genetic modifications are lethal for a disease-causing organism.
Honorable Mentions were given to:
Cara Dienes, Iowa State University for her display, "Determinging Optimal Schedule Requirements for Green Hotel Renovations."
Vinay Satish Kumar, Penn State University, who presented
"Discrete Optimization Methods to Curate Metabolic Models."
Come and learn at Tuesday's Interactive Sessions from 12:30-1:30pm in Exhibit Hall A. The winner will be announced at 1:30pm. Good luck to all of our presenters.
|Have You Picked Up Your Free 2008 TutORials in Operations Research CD?
|Pick up your complimentary copy of the 2008 TutORials in Operations Research CD at two locations: the Registration Desk and INFORMS Booth #701 in the exhibit hall. Find the special tear-out in your printed program and bring it with you to receive your complimentary CD.
The 2008 CD - the most comprehensive yet - includes 15 of the 18 tutorials presented at the meeting. Books and additional CDs will be available for sale at the INFORMS Booth.
Attendees must present the special 2008 TutORials in OR tear-out from the program book to receive a free CD.
|Last Chance! 2008 TutORials in Operations Research Author Meet and Greet!
|Join us at the INFORMS Booth #701 today during your morning and/or afternoon coffee breaks to meet a 2008 TutORials in OR author.
Arnold Barnett will be joining us from 9:30am-10am, and Stan Uryasev will be joining us from 4pm - 4:30pm. Take this great opportunity to talk to some of our TutORials authors about their how-to projects.
|Exhibits (including INFORMS Booth/Bookstore) Close Today at 5 pm!
|Today is the last chance to stop by the INFORMS Bookstore for savings on print and electronic products. The bookstore is located at the INFORMS booth #702. Attendees will receive a 50% discount off select book titles available while supplies last. Plus, pick up your complimentary TutORials in OR CD and Edelman DVD, purchase recently published books, and the INFORMS PubsOnLine Suite (all 12 journals online) for just $99. Staff members will be available to assist you with your purchase. Save on shipping and handling when you purchase a book or CD on site. We accept cash, checks, and the following major credit cards: Mastercard, Visa, and American Express.
|Tuesday's Community/Subdivisions Awards - Come Show Your Support!
INFORMS Chapter/Fora Committee
Moving Spirit Award
The Moving Spirit Award recognizes chapter volunteers who have made significant contributions to their local chapters.Winner: Hsing Luh (Taiwan Chapter)
Moving Spirit for Fora
The Moving Spirit Award for Fora recognizes outstanding forum volunteers who have been "moving spirits" in their forum. Winner: Eric Wolman (Women in ORMS)
Judith Liebman Award
The Judith Liebman Award recognizes outstanding student volunteers who have been "moving spirits" in their universities, their student chapters, and at INFORMS.Winners: Homarjun Agrahari (Texas A&M University Chapter)
Ankur Jain (Purdue University Chapter)
Vishnu Nanduri (University of South Florida Chapter)
Student Chapter Annual Award
The Student Chapter Annual Award recognizes performance and achievements of student chapters.Winners: Summa Cum Laude:
Florida International University Magna Cum Laude:
North Carolina State University, Texas A&M University, University of Massachusetts, University of Virginia Cum Laude:
Arizona State University, Louisiana Tech University, Oklahoma State University, University of Houston, University of Illinois-Chicago, University of South Florida, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Presented: Tuesday, October 14th, 7am, Chapter/Fora Officers Breakfast, Marriott, Delaware A
|Renew Your 2009 Membership at Annual Meeting
|The Annual Meeting is the perfect time for you to renew your 2009 membership with INFORMS. Stop by the INFORMS Booth #700 in the exhibit hall where you can renew online or fill out a renewal form. We'll make your membership transaction as fast and easy as possible.
If you have recently tried to renew online and were unsuccessful, please try us again! We have implemented new association management system and are having some growing pains. We think we have exterminated our bugs thus far.
You know how important participating in the Annual Meeting is to your career. The Annual Meeting is just one of the many benefits that your membership dues help support.
Stop by the INFORMS Booth today -- it's the last chance for us to help you in person.
|Media Training Resources
|For those of you who missed yesterday's special workshop providing media training for scientists - and for those who didn't have a chance to copy an important URL - all is not lost. Media trainer Denise Graveline left those attending with online resources that can help a scientist or analyst prepare for a meeting with a reporter, a blog exchange, or a media campaign. You can find a wealth of resources at http://www.dontgetcaught.biz/webdocs/blog/2008/10/resources-on-communicating-research.html.
|Increase the Value of Your Membership - Join a Community/Subdivision
|One of the most important benefits of an INFORMS membership is the ability to network with and learn from a community of your peers. There is no better way to do that than to join an INFORMS Subdivision (or to add additional ones!) We've made joining or adding Subdivisions very easy at the Annual Meeting. Just stop by the Subdivisions section of the Registration Desk Saturday - Wednesday or the INFORMS booth in the exhibition hall Sunday - Tuesday where representatives will help you decide on the Subdivision that best matches your interests. Indeed, INFORMS has Subdivisions that span the breadth of the OR/MS profession. Most are very inexpensive and feature newsletters, list serves, discussion boards, and intimate meetings.
Today's Community/Subdivision Business Meetings
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14
|M - Marshall North,Mezzanine Level 7:00am-8:30am
|Women in OR/MS Meeting/Lunch
|M - Marshall East,Mezzanine Level 12:30pm-1:30pm
|SpORts in OR
|M - Maryland A, Lobby Level 6:00pm-7:00pm
|M = Marriott Wardman Park O=Omni Shoreham
|Community/Subdivision Awards presented on Sunday and Monday. Congratulations to the following winners:
Applied Probability Society
This award is for outstanding contribution to the field of applied probability by an applied probabilist under the age of 35. The award is accompanied by a plaque and a $1,000 cash prize. The award is given once every two years.Winner: Bert Zwart
Presented: October 13, Applied Probability Business Meeting
Health Applications Section
This award is given for the best paper presented in a Health Applications Section sponsored session at each INFORMS Annual Conference beginning in San Antonio, 2000. The award is named after Dr.William Pierskalla to recognize his contribution and dedication to improving health services research and delivery through operations research. The award includes a plaque and a $1,000 cash prize.
Chaovalitwongse, Ya-Ju Fan, and Rajesh Sachdeo
Presented: Monday, October 13, Health Applications Business Meeting
Manufacturing & Service Operations Management Society
Student Paper Competition Award
Two awards are given annually for papers judged to be the best in the field of Operations Management. The first prize is accompanied by a $400 cash award. The second prize is accompanied by a $200 cash award. All finalists will be invited to submit extended abstracts of their paper for publication in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.
Winner: Jagpreet Chhatwal
Second Place: Guoming Lai
Presented: Monday, October 13, MSOM Fellows Presentation Session
Prize for Young Researchers
The Optimization Prize for Young Researchers, established in 1998, is awarded annually at
the INFORMS annual meeting to one or more young researchers for the most outstanding
paper in optimization that is submitted to or published in a refereed professional journal.
The prize serves as esteemed recognition of promising colleagues who are at the beginning
of their academic or industrial career. The Optimization award includes a cash prize of $1,000.
Winners: Retsef Levi, Ganesh
Janakiraman, and Mahesh Nagarajan
The Farkas Prize of the Optimization Society was established in 2006 and is awarded
bi-annually at the INFORMS annual meeting for the most significant contribution to the
field of optimization by a new researcher, or a team of researchers. The Farkas Prize
includes a cash prize of $1,000.
Winner: Dimitris Bertsimas
Presented: October 12, Optimization Business Meeting
Revenue Management & Pricing Section
The INFORMS Revenue Management & Pricing Section Prize is awarded for the best contribution
to the science of pricing and revenue management published in English. The
prize includes a certificate and cash award.
Winners: Constantinos Maglaras and
The INFORMS Revenue Management and Pricing Section Prize for Historical Works was
created to recognize critical contributions to the science of pricing and revenue management
published in English, prior to 1999. The prize includes a certificate and a cash award.
Winner: Jeffrey I.
Presented: October 12, Revenue Management Business Meeting
|Join Us at the Smithsonian Tonight
|INFORMS will take flight tonight at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. For our gala General Reception we'll have the museum to ourselves, and all the major exhibits will be open for our enjoyment. We'll be serving great food and drinks throughout the evening, and you will receive two tickets for complimentary beer or wine when you enter. Soft drinks and bottled water are also complimentary. Buses leave the Marriott 24th Street exit beginning at 7pm. The last bus leaves for the museum at 7:45pm. Buses begin returning at 8pm with the last bus returning at 9:45pm. Be sure to wear your badge! Please join us in this wonderful celebration of scientific achievement. (The museum is pretty good, too.)
|For all you INFORMS members who joined up in grade school and have now been with us for 25 years or more, stop by the INFORMS booth in the exhibit hall to pick up your special ribbon. Unfortunately, there is no truth to the rumor that wearing the ribbon will score you seats near the front of your sessions!