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Analytics Magazine

INFORMS 2018 Government & Analytics Summit

By Kara Tucker

The first annual INFORMS Government & Analytics Summit was held on May 21 in Washington, D.C. INFORMS President Nicholas G. Hall (The Ohio State University) seized a unique opportunity for INFORMS to host an event that could improve understanding within government of the value of operations research (O.R.) and analytics work for solving important societal problems. O.R. and analytics is already used in many government-related areas such as national security and military logistics, scheduling flights and bus routes in transportation, and epidemic preparedness in healthcare. 2018 Summit chair Laura Albert (University of Wisconsin-Madison) discussed these examples and more in her opening remarks, bringing to light the vast and important work done by operations researchers and analytics professionals.

Anthony FoxxThe notable keynote speakers drew a sizeable audience to this first-of-its-kind event. The audience heard from former Secretary of Transportation and former mayor of Charlotte, N.C., Anthony Foxx (photo), and the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency, Gen. Michael Hayden. The summit was well-attended by policymakers, healthcare workers, transportation officials, and other society and institution members wanting to discover O.R. and analytics and find ways to incorporate them for their respective applications.

“Today’s event helped me gain a better understanding of the impact of operations research and analytics as it pertains to my organization’s customer base. After today, I look forward to attending more INFORMS events,” said Russell Huffman, Capture Manager at Triumph Enterprises, Inc.

The enthusiastic audience had many questions for the keynote speakers and three panels on healthcare, transportation and national security such as: how can we use analytics to combat information warfare; in healthcare, what should data collection policy look like; what are the advantages and potential disadvantages of the sharing economy; and how does the military provide readiness for different scenarios? Some of these questions, and more, will be answered in the upcoming June issue of OR/MS Today, the membership magazine of INFORMS, where you will find a more in-depth piece on the impressive 2018 INFORMS Government & Analytics Summit.

It’s not hard to be impressed with the summit’s tagline: “Saving lives. Saving money. Solving problems.” This idea was shaped by Laura Albert, chair, to help summarize INFORMS in an impactful way to the attendees of the one-day event, and by all accounts left a lasting impression.

Kara Tucker is the assistant editor of OR/MS Today and Analytics magazine.

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