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Analytics Magazine

Inside Story: What I learned today

July/August 2014

Peter Horner, editor

One of the advantages of editing Analytics (as well as OR/MS Today, the membership magazine of INFORMS) is I learn something new every day, thanks to the wide array of contributed articles we receive. For example, just in preparing this issue, I learned:

  • Nearly 20 years ago, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that Amazon intended to sell books at or near cost as a way of gathering data on affluent, educated shoppers, as reported by George Packer in The New Yorker. The implication: The data, once analyzed, had more value than the loss-leader books, which proved absolutely correct when Amazon began selling everything under the sun to well-targeted consumers.

    Drawing on Packer’s article, as well as a couple of books (“Who Owns the Future?” and “The Ethics of Big Data”), Vijay Mehrotra explores the dark side of technology, big data and analytics – and the perceived and/or potential threat it poses – in his Analyze This! column. Don’t miss it.

  • A Formula 1 pit crew, working in an optimized, well-coordinated fashion, can change a set of four tires in less than two seconds. That means that unless you’re Evelyn Wood, that crew can change 12 tires in the time it takes you to read this sentence. For the story behind the motorsports magic, check out Andy Boyd’s Forum column. Seeing is believing, so don’t miss the amazing videos referenced at the end of the article.
  • We all know the digital/technical world will come to a wordy end without acronyms, but do you know what MOOC stands for I do (“massively open online course”), thanks to an interview I did with executive search honcho Linda Burtch regarding the red-hot analytics job market.
  • Finally, I also learned from Linda that in today’s dynamic world, young people should plan on three or four careers during their lifetime. “It’s not good to specialize in one thing and try to stick with one company or one industry or one vertical application for your entire career,” she says in the Q&A. “It’s incredibly dangerous, and it likely won’t carry you through a 35-year career. You need to be continuously learning something new.”

I got that last part going for me, every day.

business analytics news and articles



Using machine learning and optimization to improve refugee integration

Andrew C. Trapp, a professor at the Foisie Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received a $320,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a computational tool to help humanitarian aid organizations significantly improve refugees’ chances of successfully resettling and integrating into a new country. Built upon ongoing work with an international team of computer scientists and economists, the tool integrates machine learning and optimization algorithms, along with complex computation of data, to match refugees to communities where they will find appropriate resources, including employment opportunities. Read more →

Gartner releases Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 rankings

Gartner, Inc. has released its 10th annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. The rankings recognize organizations across the healthcare value chain that demonstrate leadership in improving human life at sustainable costs. “Healthcare supply chains today face a multitude of challenges: increasing cost pressures and patient expectations, as well as the need to keep up with rapid technology advancement, to name just a few,” says Stephen Meyer, senior director at Gartner. Read more →

Meet CIMON, the first AI-powered astronaut assistant

CIMON, the world’s first artificial intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, made its debut aboard the International Space Station. The ISS’s newest crew member, developed and built in Germany, was called into action on Nov. 15 with the command, “Wake up, CIMON!,” by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been living and working on the ISS since June 8. Read more →



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