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INFORMS Initiatives: Analytics workshop, Edelman competition, CAP benefits & more

Management consultant, educator to lead analytics workshop

Patrick-NoonanDr. Patrick Noonan will lead a two-day workshop, “Essential Practice Skills for High-Impact Analytics Projects,” on Sept. 26-27 at the Executive Conference Center in Crystal City, Va., where he will introduce a set of tools and techniques to help analytics professionals apply their skills to achieve high impact in the workplace. Presented by INFORMS, the workshop is part of the Institute’s “essential skills” continuing education program.

At the workshop, Noonan, a former management consultant, business owner and educator, will teach practical frameworks and systematic processes for addressing complex, real-world problems and how to facilitate effective action. Noonan combines a hands-on teaching and learning approach honed from faculty posts at Harvard, Duke and most recently Emory University, with real-world experience from a business career spent at global management consulting giant McKinsey & Co, as well as Planning Technologies Group, which he co-founded in 1990. “Whether or not one directly handles data or models, they’ve become part of the nervous system of our society, and integral parts of the business models of most organizations we interact with,” Noonan says. “Some of the tools and techniques are obscured to us, but they’re there.”

Seats are limited, so register now at For more information, contact Bill Griffin at

Edelman-MedalEnter Edelman competition, share your best advanced analytics work

The Franz Edelman Award from INFORMS recognizes and rewards organizations for outstanding contributions of OR/MS and advanced analytics. INFORMS encourages everyone whose work is driving impactful change and results to participate in the 2018 Edelman competition. To enter, submit a three-page summary of your most successful work and a 60-word abstract of the achievement by Oct. 27, 2017.

For more information about the most elite competition for the best advanced analytics or OR/MS project of the year, visit For tips on helping INFORMS scout projects, click here.

Three more reasons to have CAP certification

By Jan paul Miller

Recently, I wrote about three key benefits of certification: confirmation, differentiation and documentation. Here are three more benefits: productivity, networking and continuous professional development. Like the first group, these highlight the competence and capabilities of those who hold the credential.

I read once that employees with professional certifications are more productive because these credentials prepare workers for unexpected challenges in their jobs. A Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) knows the seven domains associated with the CAP assessment test, so they know how to create a process to solve a problem. Certified employees often work more efficiently than uncertified colleagues, and their presence can help improve the productivity of team projects.

CAP-logoSecondly, CAP certification opens the door to new networking opportunities. Given that one’s certification shows competence in analytics, there is no other introduction needed. Whether among one’s peers in your place of employment or among certificants across the industry, it is a preferred calling card. Don’t leave home without it.

Finally, and very importantly, CAP certification commits the certificant to continuous professional development. In my years in certification, I have seen any number of certificants in various professions complain about the requirements for re-certification. True, it involves a commitment of time and resources, but the benefits certainly outweigh those considerations. By gaining new knowledge, the CAP holder continues to make her/himself relevant by ongoing confirmation of currency in the knowledge, skills and attributes necessary for competent practice. I suspect that something will have changed in the analytics ken by the time this article is published. As fast as the body of knowledge increases exponentially, it is critical for any certificant to keep current in the field.

CAP certification can be considered the highpoint in professional development, not only in displaying competence but being committed to lifelong learning as a credentialed professional. Taken together, these six benefits – confirmation, differentiation, documentation, networking, productivity and professional development – provide good reasons to seek and maintain CAP certification.

Jan paul Miller ( is the certification manager at INFORMS.

INFORMS names Inniss director of Education and Industry Outreach

Tasha R. InnissINFORMS announced that Dr. Tasha R. Inniss has joined the INFORMS staff as the inaugural director of Education and Industry Outreach. In this role, she will contribute her extensive mathematics and education background to the overall vision, strategic direction and implementation of all education- and practice (industry)-related activities and outreach.

Prior to joining INFORMS, Inniss served as the acting deputy division director of the Division of Human Resource Development in the Directorate of Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation. Concurrent with that, she was a tenured associate professor of mathematics at Spelman College in Atlanta.

Inniss graduated summa cum laude from Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics. She earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland, College Park. She was one of the first three African-American women to receive a doctorate in mathematics from UMD. Her first faculty position after completing her doctorate was as a Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Mathematics at Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University) in Washington, D.C.

As an applied mathematician, her research interests are in the areas of data mining/data science, operations research and applied statistics. In addition to Inniss’ research interests, she also has a passion for teaching mathematics and encouraging undergraduate students to pursue degrees in STEM disciplines. When she was a junior faculty member at Spelman College, Inniss received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching because of her innovative teaching techniques and dedication to helping students to see how mathematics is applied in the real world.

“I am most excited about joining the dynamic INFORMS staff and working collaboratively to develop innovative integrated (education and practice) initiatives that help to support the goals and priorities of INFORMS,” Inniss says.

O.R. & Analytics Student Team Competition

The INFORMS O.R. & Analytics Student Team Competition challenges undergraduate and master’s level students to solve a real-world business problem using an O.R./analytics approach. Students from around the world can demonstrate their analytical skills and earn valuable prizes and prestige for themselves and their university.

Now in its second year, the contest provides student teams with a detailed problem statement, company data and ongoing access to company technical and management staff. In addition, nine technology providers offer free access to their software for participating teams.

The eight finalist teams in the inaugural 2017 competition represented universities from the United Kingdom, Turkey, Singapore, Belgium and United States. “The competition allowed us to test our skills against brilliant students from around the world and also help make a lasting difference for the company,” one team leader said. “It was a truly rewarding experience. We look forward to building on what we’ve learned as we move forward in our studies and careers.”

Principal, a leading financial investment management company and 2018 title sponsor, will provide the 2018 challenge problem. The company is looking for insights and innovative ideas on developing a global equity optimization framework to improve risk adjusted returns. In addition to in-depth background information and proprietary data sets, Principal will offer students access to company staff through a unique “office hours” program, webinars and Q&A opportunities.

Interested students should subscribe now for updates and deadlines ( The preliminary problem statement was published on Sept. 1, and the final problem, data sets and software available will be announced on Oct. 13. Beginning Oct. 13, teams can register their intent to compete. While registration is non-binding, it indicates a team’s interest and allows access to the final problem and data. In addition, only registered teams will be invited to informational webinars, Q&A opportunities and “office hour” sessions with Principal staff being held in November-December. Written entries are due Jan. 29, 2018.

A panel of industry and academic experts will judge written submissions based on teams’ use of the full analytics process, from framing the problem to methodology selection, data use, model building and quantitative analysis. Demonstrated “soft skills” in teamwork, communication and presentation will also be considered in judging.

Eight finalist teams will be announced on March 5, 2018, and invited to present their work at the INFORMS Analytics Conference on April 15-17, 2018, in Baltimore. Finalists receive a travel stipend and complimentary registration to the conference. For complete information, visit:

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