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FCC wins 2018 INFORMS Edelman Award

FCC wins 2018 INFORMS Edelman AwardThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) won the 2018 Franz Edelman Award for its use of operations research (O.R.) as part of a revolutionary approach to address the rapidly growing need for additional wireless spectrum in the United States and Canada.

The prestigious award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in advanced analytics, O.R. and management science, was presented by INFORMS at the Edelman Gala held April 16 in Baltimore in conjunction with the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research.

The FCC conducted the world’s first two-sided “incentive auction” to meet the exploding demand for wireless services by reclaiming valuable low-band electromagnetic spectrum from TV broadcasters. By purchasing spectrum from TV broadcasters and reselling it to wireless providers, the auction repurposed 84 MHz of TV spectrum for mobile broadband, next-generation “5-G” and other wireless uses, raised nearly $20 billion in revenue and contributed over $7 billion to reduce the federal deficit. In addition, operations research enabled many TV stations to remain on their original channels, saving an estimated $200 million in relocation costs.

“To be presented with the Franz Edelman Award, which recognizes the greatest achievements in operations research and analytics, is an incredible testament to the ground-breaking work of our incentive auction team,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “The auction … would not have been possible without the use of operations research tools to solve complex design and implementation challenges. We are deeply honored that our effort has been recognized with this prestigious award.”

In addition to the FCC, five other organizations were finalists for this year’s Franz Edelman Award:

  • China National Petroleum Corporation for “Natural Gas Pipeline Optimization Software”
  • Europcar for “Opticar”
  • Intel for “Multi-Echelon Inventory Optimization (MEIO) Inventory Target-Setting System”
  • Pediatric Heart Network for “Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG)”
  • Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. for “TargetingNOW and AudienceNOW”

First awarded in 1972, the Franz Edelman Award recognizes and rewards outstanding contributions of analytics and O.R. in the for- and non-profit sectors around the globe. Each year, INFORMS honors finalist teams that have improved organizational efficiency, increased profits, brought better products to consumers, helped foster peace negotiations and saved lives. Since its inception, the cumulative dollar benefits from Edelman finalist projects have surpassed $250 billion.

The conference drew more than 1,000 attendees, many of them leading professionals in analytics and operations research.

With 12,500 members from nearly 90 countries, INFORMS is the world’s largest international association of operations research and analytics professionals and students. INFORMS provides unique networking and learning opportunities for individual professionals, and organizations of all types and sizes, to better understand and use O.R. and analytics tools and methods to transform strategic visions and achieve better outcomes.

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