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Analytics Magazine

Inside story: A conference to remember

As I’ve said many times in this column, the one analytics conference you don’t want to miss each year is the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. The latest in the series, held April 15-17 in Baltimore a few miles down the road and a few stone skips across the Inner Harbor from INFORMS headquarters, not only lived up to expectations, it exceeded them – by a long shot.

Maybe it was the home field advantage, but the conference was exceptional in every way, starting with a record attendance of 1,054 analytics professionals, thought leaders and academicians who gathered for an amazing three days of analytical nirvana.

Bill Schmarzo, CTO of IoT and Analytics at Hitachi Vantara (and formerly CTO within Dell EMC’s consulting organization) jump-started the conference with a rousing opening plenary titled, “Big Data MBA: What is the Value of Your Data?” Schmarzo’s high-energy delivery – packed with memorable one-liners and bullet-points – set the tone for a whirlwind of analytics activity throughout the conference.

Anyone – regardless of gender – who attended the “Women in OR/MS: Cocktails & Questions with Diane Bryant” early evening session came away ready to take on the world and break a few glass ceilings armed only with confidence and analytics. Bryant, COO of Google Cloud, turned up the heat by doubling as a member of the Edelman Award finalist team from Intel, her former employer.

A highlight of any INFORMS Business Analytics Conference is the Edelman Gala, an Oscar-like dinner and awards event that celebrates the world’s best applications of analytics, O.R. and management science. Emcee Don Kleinmuntz commanded the podium with a mix of decorum, style and wit – a perfect fit for the occasion.

From Schmarzo’s opening big data/big business challenge to U.S. Health and Human Services CTO Bruce Greenstein’s insightful final-day plenary on “Connecting Data to Advance HHS” – the conference hit a home run, which was appropriate considering it was held across the bay from Camden Yards, home of the MLB Orioles.

Finally, kudos to Conference Committee General Chair Jack Kloeber, his committee members and the INFORMS staff for putting together a memorable conference. I’ve been to more conferences during the past 25 years than I can remember, but this was the best, and one I won’t forget.

Peter Horner (peter.horner@informs.org), editor, OR/MS Today and Analytics magazines

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Headlines

FCC wins 2018 INFORMS Edelman Award

The 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. Read more →

BNSF Railway receives 2018 INFORMS Prize

BNSF Railway was awarded the 2018 INFORMS Prize for its pioneering and enduring integration of operations research (O.R.) and analytics programs throughout the organization. The prize was presented at the Edelman Gala held April 16 in Baltimore in conjunction with the 2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. Read more →

Ethics article earns Mission Award from Notre Dame

An article co-authored by Scott Nestler and David Hunt, both longtime and active members of INFORMS, was named a winner of the Mission Award from the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. The article, “Using INFORMS ethics guidelines in the classroom,” appeared in the February 2017 issue of OR/MS Today (the INFORMS membership magazine). The Mission Award recognizes one or more Notre Dame faculty members for a specific research work that contributes to the common good. Read more →

UPCOMING ANALYTICS EVENTS

INFORMS-SPONSORED EVENTS

2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research
April 15-17, 2018, Baltimore

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