CAP update, Doing Good, Grand Challenges

Update: Certified Analytics Professional program

Developing new test questions that keep the Certified Analytics Professional (CAP®) exam fresh is an important component of making certain CAP remains the premier global certification for analytics practitioners. The Analytics Certification Board and staff thank Innovative Decisions, Inc. (IDI) and especially Freeman Marvin, CAP, for recently hosting an item-writing workshop at their headquarters in Vienna, Va., as part of this ongoing effort.

If you are interested in sponsoring an item-writing workshop or submitting a test question, contact

Although CAP is available through a computer-based testing format, INFORMS continues to host paper-and-pencil exams at selected sites, particularly at INFORMS conferences. To take advantage of these on-site exams, you must first apply and be approved for the CAP examination.

For ongoing computer-based examinations to test on your schedule, see

‘Doing Good’ finalists tackle crime, medical challenges

The INFORMS Doing Good with Good O.R. Student Paper Competition is held each year to honor outstanding projects by students in operations research and the management sciences; projects that have a significant impact, particularly solutions aimed at important societal and humanitarian problems.

This year’s winners will be announced at the 2015 INFORMS Annual Meeting, which will take place in Philadelphia Nov. 1-4.

The finalists’ projects are:

  • “Finding Patterns with a Rotten Core: Data Mining for Crime Series Detection,” Tong Wang, MIT.
    The contestant worked with the Cambridge, Mass., Police Department to build a model that can automatically detect crime series, which analysts now spend hours a day doing manually. NYPD is currently working with the team’s computer code, incorporating it into a custom software package for daily use.
  • “Using Operations Research to Improve the Health of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes,” Yuanhui Zhang, North Carolina State University
    The contestant developed models to evaluate policy and examine clinical regimens involving glycemic control for patients with type 2 diabetes. The sophisticated math methods helped determine whether new medications are more effective than standard regimens.
  • “The Optimal Policy Design to Motivate Blood Donation: Evidence from a Randomized Field Experiment and a Structural Model,” Tianshu Sun, University of Maryland
    Using a randomized field experiment involving 80,000 participants, the participant tested the effect of different policies in driving donations and found that blood banks can use rewards to motivate group formations that increase donations. Group rewards are four times more cost effective than individual rewards.
  • “Improving Blood Collection Policies for Cryoprecipitate,” Chenxi Zeng, Georgia Institute of Technology.
    The blood product cryoprecipitate (“cryo”) must satisfy an 8-hour collection-to-product completion constraint, which requires extra transport expense for the American Red Cross. The contestant reduced extra transport cost by 70 percent.
  • “Ebola Treatment Facility Location Planning in Guinea (Analysis for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” Kimberly Adelaar, Charmaine Chan, Matt Daniels, Javeria Javeria, Caleb Mbuvi, Chu Qian, Ivan Renaldi, Jonathan Sutomo, Georgia Institute of Technology.
    In the recent Ebola outbreak, treatment facilities were critical but beds were unavailable in some areas while unused in others. Results showed units set up quickly or in advance could have saved more than 2,000 lives.
  • “Infusion Center Process Improvement and Patient Wait Time Reduction,” Sung Keun Baek, Xiaoyang Li, Allen Liu, James Micali, Jisu Park, Mengnan Shen, Yunjie Sun, Emilie Wurmser, Georgia Institute of Technology.
    The team combined patient interviews, math modeling and data analytics to reduce patient waits by 28 percent and improve patient satisfaction by 8.5 percent.

INFORMS team addresses ‘Grand Challenges’

A team chaired by Suvrajeet Sen of the University of Southern California that included many prominent members of INFORMS submitted a report to the National Science Foundation outlining how the operations research community could play the role of catalyst – utilizing its ideas and tools – and transcend disciplinary boundaries to help address many of the challenges.

The report suggested a two-pronged approach to speed up the research and exchange process: (1) An NSF announcement of “Grand Challenge Analytics” as one of its major Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) topics, and (2) an NSF-sponsored institute for “Multidisciplinary O.R. and Engineering,” dedicated to coalescing a general-purpose theory, as well as building a community to support “Grand Challenge Analytics.”

For more on the story, click here.