INFORMS in the News
How Statistics (and O.R) Guided One INFORMS Member Through Cancer - and The Price is Right
...host Drew Carey announced the Kia’s actual price: $16,232. Amid audience cheers, he turned to me and smiled. “Congratulations, Elisa! You just won a new car! You are so lucky!”
Indeed, as I had learned two months earlier, I am exceptionally talented at hitting low probabilities. This episode of “The Price Is Right” was a special aimed at raising breast cancer awareness, and I had just been diagnosed, at 33, with a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer known as triple-negative. Would I survive, and how? Numbers, as usual, contained the answer. While they governed countless choices surrounding surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, they had also just won me a new car.
Why Companies Should Respond When Twitter Rage Spikes
A new study finds that once a business responds to a specific grievance on Twitter, it could also open the floodgates to more criticism. But that doesn't mean brands should clam up when an issue arises. Twitter can be a helpful tool for companies hoping to regain the trust of unhappy patrons, and responding to customers on public forums is better than not responding at all. In fact, reaching out can greatly improve the way people think about a company.
"It’s still worthwhile to respond to complaints, because the net effect is still effective. [People] are more likely to complain because they expect the company will help [them] more,” study co-author Liye Ma, a professor at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, told The Huffington Post.
The study, published in the journal Marketing Science, a branch of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, focused on customers’ perceptions of companies and how the relationship changes over time.
Outing people who order pizza online
What happens when you order a pizza without having to deal with a real live human being? Well, apparently, you order all the toppings.
People consume more calories and spend more money when they order food online and don't have to face the embarrassment of revealing their true pizza desires to a sentient being, according to a forthcoming paper in the journal Management Science.
The study -- from researchers at the business schools of the University of Toronto, Duke University and the National University of Singapore -- confirms something we all kind of knew: We let our guard down online, uninhibited by the social constraints of in-person interaction.
Ordering Pizza Online...
If you’re face-to-face with a waitress at your local corner bistro, you might be a little hesitant to order two loaves of garlic bread, fettuccine Alfredo, and a chocolate lava cake just for your own fattening gratification. But just as how in space no one can hear you scream, on the internet, no one can see your true gluttony. And even better, typing in your credit card number just doesn’t create the same pangs of guilty frivolity than forking over wads of cash at a counter.
A study published in Management Science affirms this phenomenon—and reveals that when we order online, we take in more calories and throw around more cash when it comes to pizza, specifically.
The fierce debate about healthcare analytics and privacy
Last week, I was a speaker at the Healthcare2015 INFORMS conference in Nashville. I happened to sit in on an interesting panel discussion where there was a lively debate about the use of psychographic data for healthcare analysis.
What took me by surprise was the sharp polarization in the panel around the issue of “creepiness.” One of the panelists, a senior analytics executive from a large hospital system, was vehement in his view that the use of information other than that explicitly covered by data privacy agreements with the patient, amounts to a breach of trust in the hospital-patient relationship, and hence “creepy.” On the other end of the spectrum, a former hospital executive, now an analytics entrepreneur, was of the view that any and all information available, should go into the analysis purely from the point of view of improving the quality of the analysis.
Harnessing Big Data in Montreal
Imagine harnessing all the digital data out there — the zillions of Google searches and smart phone interactions — and then using the real-time information that has become so readily available to optimize services, solve problems and benefit society.
It wouldn’t just be cool — it would be revolutionary.
Well, it’s starting to happen, and a renowned data scientist who is coming to École Polytechnique de Montréal this fall is one of those spearheading the revolution.
[INFORMS member] Andrea Lodi, holder of the new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in data science for real-time decision-making, hopes to use the $22 million he has been given to set up shop at Polytechnique to help make sense of the explosion of online data and convert it into knowledge that will help organizations and governments make opportune decisions.
81% of Enterprises Rely on Analytics for Insights
According to a recent KPMG survey of C-level executives, 92% are using data and analytics to gain greater insights into marketing.72% report their enterprises are regular to heavy users of social media data to improve customer relationships. 81% of enterprises are relying analytics to improve their understanding of customers.
Is paying for extended warrantees worth it?
Extended warranties, which can also go by the label of “service contracts,” are designed to provide maintenance or repair of products beyond what’s addressed with warranties that are part of the purchase price. Merchants of all sorts have been dangling extended warranties for years, covering everything from a $100 cell phone to a $100,000 automobile.
While the length of extended warranties will differ significantly — Marks said the average term is between three and four years — one thing that’s consistent across the board is their profitability. A recent report by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences found some extended warranties have profit margins in excess of 200 percent.
ManSci study: It's OK for male execs to ask directions and business advice
[University of Pittsburgh Prof. Dave] Lebel says research has found that it can be easier to ask for help when you turn it into advice seeking. In a study published in the June 2015 issue of Management Science, researchers from Harvard Business School and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania found that advice-seeking differs from other help-seeking behaviors because you’re eliciting information for a course of action, retaining the decision-making process, and implying that the values of the advice seeker is similar to the adviser.
"Asking for a recommendation can feel flattering to the other person," says Lebel.
Cardinals vs. Astros: An Analytics Morality Tale
As Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold aptly reported in coverage of FBI allegations about the St. Louis Cardinals hacking scouting reports of the Houston Astros, this baseball drama contains a story about the increasingly competitive world of sports analytics. It is also a wake-up call for analytics professionals and other business leaders, not just in professional sports but across numerous industries, who have a vested interest in ensuring that this growing technical field adheres to stringent ethical guidelines and professional standards.
How Much is Your Olympic Reputation Worth?
The ancient Roman philosopher Publius once opined, “A good reputation is more valuable than money.”
Researchers David Waguespack and Robert Salomon examined whether “reputationally-privileged” athletes (that is, athletes who had been successful in previous competitions, or those from countries with a track record of athletic excellence) were more likely to succeed at the Olympic Games than lesser-known athletes.
Your Guide to Analytics Patents
Analytics may be a young profession but it is taking off, and its growth is evident in the rapid increase in analytics patents that have been granted by the U.S. Patent Office. As an analytics professional, you may find that patents play an important part in your life -- the 40-plus patents that we co-invented at IBM were front and center for us.
Knowing the patenting process can be important for you and your company’s success, protecting your most valuable work. And if you want to learn about advanced analytics, the patent literature is an important source of information.
In a study we wrote with Troy White of Clarkson University that has just been published in the INFORMS journal Interfaces, we examined keywords relevant to descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive analytics found in U.S. patents that were issued between 2002 and 2013.
Brands, Patents Protect Companies from Bankruptcy
If a firm faces troubled times during a stable market, strong advertising can carry it through. But when the market is turbulent, a firm's Research and Development is more likely to help save it from bankruptcy. A new study published in the Articles in Advance section of Marketing Science, a journal of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), shows that "intangible assets" built with advertising (such as brands) and R&D (such as patents) can help protect firms from bankruptcy, but the effectiveness of each depends on the market climate.
The study, The Impacts of Advertising Assets and R&D Assets on Reducing Bankruptcy Risk by Niket Jindal of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business and Leigh McAlister of the University of Texas's McCombs School of Business, is based on data from more than 1,000 firms covering three decades.
Nobel Winner Roth on Kidney Exchanges and His OR Background
Practically, I was trained as an engineer. My degrees are all in operations research, not in economics. I gravitated to economics because I'm interested in how people coordinate and collaborate with each other. Economics studies all the ways people get along with each other.
How job stress might be killing you - and what you can do about it
Job stress is also tied to hypertension, obesity and even depression. Any one of these factors makes life more difficult and can even increase your risk of death. A study published in March in the journal Management Science looked at the effect of 10 sources of stress in the workplace and found that all of them contribute to increased health care spending among workers, and many to an increased risk of death. These workplace stressors, which have been linked to cardiovascular disease and poor mental health, are responsible for more deaths annually than diabetes, Alzheimer’s or the flu, according to the researchers.
Best and Worst Paying Cities in US for Operations Researchers
Operations Research Analyst
National median wage: $72,596
5. Baltimore, MD ($97,750)
4. Washington, DC ($106,960)
3. Virginia Beach, VA ($93,620)
2. San Diego, CA ($104,880)
1. San Jose, CA ($117,530)
5. Tampa, FL ($52,830)
4. Jacksonville, FL ($53,210)
3. Miami, FL ($52,870)
2. Tallahassee, FL ($43,440)
1. Baton Rouge, LA ($40,800)
OrgSci study: How some men fake an 80-hr work week
Imagine an elite professional services firm with a high-performing, workaholic culture. Everyone is expected to turn on a dime to serve a client, travel at a moment’s notice, and be available pretty much every evening and weekend. It can make for a grueling work life, but at the highest levels of accounting, law, investment banking and consulting firms, it is just the way things are.
Except for one dirty little secret: Some of the people ostensibly turning in those 80- or 90-hour workweeks, particularly men, may just be faking it.
Many of them were, at least, at one elite consulting firm studied by Erin Reid, a professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. It’s impossible to know if what she learned at that unidentified consulting firm applies across the world of work more broadly. But her research, published in the academic journal Organization Science, offers a way to understand how the professional world differs between men and women, and some of the ways a hard-charging culture that emphasizes long hours above all can make some companies worse off.
His Legacy: The Nash Equilibrium
In 2009, a global pandemic of H1N1 influenza, or swine flu, broke out. Vaccines were in short supply, raising concerns that governments of wealthier countries would buy up so much of the supply that poorer countries would be left without enough. Using the Nash equilibrium and related concepts in game theory, researchers determined that under some conditions it would actually be in the wealthier countries' best interest to give their vaccine supplies to countries that do not have enough. This can help prevent the spread of the epidemic, according to the paper published in Operations Research in 2009.
The Bias Blind Spot
It has been well established that people have a “bias blind spot,” meaning that they are less likely to detect bias in themselves than others. However, how blind we are to our own actual degree of bias, and how many of us think we are less biased than others have been less clear.
Published in Management Science, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the City University London, Boston University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, have developed a tool to measure the bias blind spot, and revealed that believing you are less biased than your peers has detrimental consequences on judgments and behaviors, such as accurately judging whether advice is useful.
US News Gives Top Rankings to Field of Operations Research
In 2015, US News ranked "operations research analyst" as
#4 Best Business Jobs
#8 Best STEM Jobs
#20 Hundred Best Jobs