Dutch Delta Program Commissioner Wins 2013 INFORMS Edelman Award, World Series of Analytics, Operations Research

San Antonio, TX, April 8, 2013 –The Dutch Delta Program Commissioner, whose work to prevent flooding created notice in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, won the 2013 Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Operations Research and the Management Sciences at a banquet sponsored by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) in San Antonio tonight.

The competition took place at the INFORMS 2013 Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research. INFORMS is the premier organization for advanced analytics professionals.

Delta Commissioner Wim Kuijken congratulates the team on winning this important, prestigious award. “Almost 60 percent of the Netherlands is vulnerable to flooding,” he said. “The objective of the Dutch Delta Approach is not to respond to a flood disaster but to avoid it. This innovative project has contributed significantly to improved flood protection in the Netherlands while at the same time steering public funds in the most efficient way.”

The Delta Commissioner of Holland collaborated with CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy AnalysisDelft University of Technology; Deltares; HKV Consultants; Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, The Hague; and Tilburg University, on the winning submission, entitled “'Economically Efficient Flood Standards to Protect the Netherlands against Flooding.”

The Franz Edelman competition, now celebrating its 41st year, attests to the contributions of operations research and analytics in the profit and non-profit sectors. Since its inception in 1972, cumulative dollar benefits from Edelman finalist projects have reached $190 billion.

Protection against flooding is a vital issue in the Netherlands since 55% of this country is susceptible to flood risk. Each year the Dutch government spends roughly €1 billion on protection by dikes and dunes. In total there are 3,500 kilometers of primary dikes in the Netherlands.

The country’s second Delta Committee recommended increasing all protection standards by at least a factor of ten, a highly costly step given limited funds. Using operations research techniques, the team determined that it is efficient to limit increased standards to only three critical regions. These results, accepted as a basis for policy by the minister of Infrastructure and  Environment, led to €7.8 billion less investment costs while strengthening the country’s defense against the kind of devastation that cost massive damage in the United States during Hurricane Sandy and resulted in thousands of deaths in Holland during a major storm in the early 1950’s.

The six finalists competing in the 2013 Franz Edelman Award Competition included teams from Baosteel, Chevron, Dell, Kroger, and McKesson.

Every year, the Franz Edelman competition recognizes outstanding examples of operations research-based projects that have transformed companies, entire industries, and people’s lives. O.R. uses advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.

Past Franz Edelman winners include IBM, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and two other winners from the Netherlands: TNT Express and Netherlands Railways.

Additional information about the Edelman Competition is online here.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is the leading professional association for professionals in advanced analytics. INFORMS is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. INFORMS serves the scientific and professional needs of operations research analysts, experts in analytics, consultants, scientists, students, educators, and managers, as well as their institutions, by publishing a variety of journals that describe the latest research in operations research. Further information about INFORMS, analytics, and operations research is at www.informs.org.


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