INFORMS in the News
O.R. Moves Up in 2016 US News Rankings
The operations research profession is now #2 in business jobs, up from #4 in 2015. O.R. has also risen to 18 from 20 in the list of 100 best jobs.
Management Science Makes List of Top 25 STEM Majors
Finding the optimal way to use a workforce is not an art — it’s a science. In small groups a missing employee can cause sleepless nights when deadlines approach, while an extra employee can result in missed performance metrics. In large groups, such as Fortune 500 companies, these same problems can cost a company billions of dollars or result in thousands of lost jobs. Management science applies the principles of mathematics to the modern office to streamline processes, cut costs and grow revenue.
O.R. Makes List of Top 5 STEM Professions Employing Women
Have a look for yourself at the five jobs with the highest percentage of women working in the profession...
3. Operations Research Analysts
- Percentage of women employed: 55.4%
- Mean annual wage: $82,940
These analysts use mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations solve complex problems, from using statistics to help inform decisions to gathering input from employees. Most operations research analysts have master’s degrees in operations research, engineering, computer science, mathematics or physics. Some entry-level positions are open to those with bachelor’s degrees.
This field only has 55.4% female workers, but that is still a considerable amount when looking at women in STEM. The reason for this, says analyst Laurie M. Orlov in her article on cio.com, is that jobs in the business technology arena capitalize on women’s greatest strengths in the workplace: “communication, collaboration and problem solving.”
Imperative for Ethical Standards in Analytics: The CAP Model
An established code of ethical behavior for analytics professionals already exists.
That code is part and parcel of the Certified Analytics Professional Program (CAP) – a highly regarded professional certification for analytics practitioners managed by INFORMS – the largest international association of professionals in analytics and operations research.
Among other things, the code establishes certain standards for those who call themselves analytics professionals and guidelines for how they should behave and be judged by their peers and employers.
Data Scientist Hottest Job of 2016
Data scientist, named the best job in America for 2016 by job site Glassdoor, is the sexy mashup of traditional careers from data analysis, economics, statistics, computer science and others.
But it goes beyond collecting and analyzing data. It's a job for the curious, for the intuitive and for those who like to not just solve problems but figure out the problem. It's part science, part art.
The rise of data science is due to the explosive growth of data collection — or big data — and the need for companies to make sense of the mishmash of new types of data from smartphones, images, human behavior and even handwriting.
Analytics Manager, Data Scientist Top 2016 List of Best Jobs
Analytics ManagerJob Openings982Median Base Salary$105,000Career Opportunity3.7Job Score4.5Data ScientistJob Openings1,736Median Base Salary$116,840Career Opportunity4.1Job Score4.7
INFORMS CAP Certification #1
While you’ll have to determine your own goals and certification needs, let’s look at a handful of important and valuable certifications all IT professionals should consider earning.
- Certified Analytics Professional
CAP certification enables you to understand the entire analytics process. From framing business and analytic problems to deployment and model lifecycle management, you’ll have full knowledge of everything that goes into general analytics by the time you finish this certification process.
Healthcare Analytics Trends for the New Year
Analytics continues to bring dramatic change to the healthcare industry in the United States and other countries, offering advances and challenges for the year ahead. Following are 10 trends to chart in 2016.
2016 Analytics Trends to Watch For
My view of the world is shaped by where I stand, but from this spot the future of analytics for 2016 looks pretty exciting! Analytics has never been more needed or interesting.
Temptation Bundling at the Gym
Lack of motivation may also play a large role in the reason why 68.8 percent of Americans are overweight or obese.
So are we all screwed? Or is there a way to keep motivation consistently flowing?
The process pairs two activities—one you should do, but avoid; and one you enjoy, but isn’t necessarily productive, explains lead study author Katherine Milkman, associate professor of Operations, Information, and Decisions at The Wharton School.
High Debt Load Tough for Union Negotiators
Why are unions having a tough time in this country? One reason is that companies are getting leverage. A recent study found that companies with a higher debt load were less likely to experience a strike during contract negotiations, particularly at companies with large unions, worse financial prospects, or underfunded pension plans. Some companies seem to anticipate this and load up on debt before contract negotiations, whereas companies that didn’t do this and experienced a strike subsequently add a ton of debt, particularly if the union won the strike. The debt gives the company a bargaining advantage by limiting how much earnings can be shared with workers vis-à-vis lenders, and often takes the form of stock buybacks, to avoid bringing money into the company.
Bed Net Plan for Underfed Kids Curbs Malaria Deaths
Giving extra bed nets to children weakened by lack of food could significantly curb child deaths from malaria, according to a mathematical model revealed last month.
A study published in the Malaria Journal found that distributing insecticide-treated bed nets and supplementary food to undernourished children aged from six months to five years could help prevent their deaths from malaria. This is because children with malnutrition are much more likely than healthy children to succumb to the disease, the paper states.
The model proposed by Milinda Lakkam and [former Operations Research Editor-in-Chief and INFORMS Fellow] Lawrence Wein, two mathematicians at Stanford University in the United States, shows that such targeted distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets is better at reducing malaria deaths than random distribution. In one tested scenario, where malaria transmission was pegged as seasonal and intermittent, the distribution of bed nets specifically to undernourished children achieved a 69 per cent reduction in malaria mortality.
Detecting Sick Milk in China
In 2008, thousands of children in China fell ill after drinking milk that had been adulterated with the chemical melamine.
This scandal inspired Liying Mu, University of Delaware assistant professor of operations management, to study ways to eliminate this dangerous and common problem.
“Milk adulteration, such as by adding, water, detergent or starch to milk, has been widely reported in many developing countries,” Mu said. “What are the reasons for those adulterations? And how can we solve the problem?”
In two papers published in top journals Management Science and Production and Operations Management, Mu’s team found three key reasons behind the milk adulteration problem, as well as a number of creative solutions.
Portfolios and Their Debt to an O.R. Nobel Winner
During WWII, academics developed “Operations Research” techniques involving statistics and linear programming to hunt enemy submarines, supply troops on the ground and deliver ordnance to targets. Soon after the war ended, Operations Research academics began to apply their methodologies to investing. In 1952 Harry Markowitz, a graduate student at the University of Chicago, published a paper on portfolio selection in the Journal of Finance. Markowitz’s quantitative approach to investment theory was radically different from the conventional stock market wisdom at the time, which focused on picking winning stocks and concentrating stock holdings to maximize return. Investors knew that holding stocks meant taking risks, and they were led to believe that the only way to reduce risk was to become more competent at picking stocks. Some investors were following the advice of Gerald M. Loeb, the co-founder of brokerage firm E.F. Hutton, who wrote “once you obtain competency, diversification is undesirable.” Markowitz’s work along with others gave birth to what is now known as Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). MPT provided investors quantitative ways to reduce risk and optimize their return.
How to Improve Decision Making in Supply Chains
David Simchi-Levi, MIT Professor, INFORMS Fellow and Former Editor-in-Chief of Operations Research (INFORMS Journal)
The ability to understand a combination of historical behavior, market conditions and future needs drives decision making. New analytic capabilities that combine machine learning and optimization can take into account historical characteristics and competitor behavior to determine future demand that will allow optimization for the best results - such as profit, market share or revenue.
Examples of decisions where this approach can be used is assortment, pricing, sourcing strategies for new products, predictive maintenance using process sensors.
New light on top sports accomplishments: Liberatore et al:
Peyton Manning could break Brett Favre’s NFL record for most career passing yards if he throws for at least 284 yards against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
But in the universe of sports’ greatest feats, is this record really that impressive?
A study published in October in the “Journal of Sports Analytics” suggests otherwise. The study, by Villanova professors Matthew Liberatore, Bret Myers and Robert Nydick and Temple professor Howard Weiss, attempts to quantify and rank the best MLB, NBA, NHL and NFL records of all time. It includes single-game, season, career and consecutive-streak records.
The best record of all belongs to Barry Bonds—but it’s not for hitting home runs.
What's the greatest record in sports history?
In 1987, Bruce Golden and Edward Wasil attempted to find the greatest record in sports by applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process to 22 records. At the time, AHP was emerging as a leading formula in addressing complex, multi-criteria problems. Through AHP, bias could be reduced, if not eliminated, and equations solved with elements of both mathematics and psychology. When Golden and Wasil’s calculations were complete, at the top of the legendary list sat Chamberlain’s 100-point game.
Since then, AHP has evolved and become more refined, while new sports records have been set.
Why a college football win is worth millions
In a forthcoming paper in the journal Management Science, Harvard professor Doug Chung puts a dollar figure on the value of each additional win for big-time college football programs. He finds that each additional win creates a bump of about $3 million, through increases in revenue streams like ticket and merchandise sales, television contracts, and booster donations.
What's the value of a win in college sports?
As the debate continues over whether college student-athletes should be paid for their on-field performances, a new study from Harvard Business School reveals just how much intercollegiate football and basketball programs contribute to a school’s bottom line.
The quantitative link between game day and payday is courtesy of Assistant Professor Doug J. Chung, who reviewed 117 schools with Division I football and basketball teams, matching athletic performance with revenue flow covering an 11-year period. The findings were jaw-dropping—winning just one more football game in a season, for example, could bump revenues by as much as $3 million for a high-powered program like Alabama or Michigan.
Chung details the correlation between wins on the field and wins for a school’s piggy bank in his paper, How Much Is a Win Worth? An Application to Intercollegiate Athletics, forthcoming in Management Science.
Predicting NCAA Football Standings
[Incoming INFORMS Vice President Laura] Albert McLay, a professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department, has been using her knowledge of math models and sports analytics to predict which teams are most likely to make the four-team tournament crowning college football’s national champion. She posts the weekly rankings on her blog, Badger Bracketology.
Now in her second year projecting the playoff, McLay says the statistical concepts she uses are some of the same ones she teaches her students in the classroom. She plans to start modeling the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this season.