Edelman presentation, big data blues & more

Compiled by Barry List

INFORMS podcasts continue to offer provocative conversation with leading analytics/O.R. practitioners and thinkers. The latest podcasts include John Joseph of Lavastorm Analytics on their recent survey on attitudes toward analytics and Roberto Weber on a Management Science study about government regulation. Visit to download the latest selections.

Visit the INFORMS Newsroom at for news about analytics and INFORMS press releases. Remember to share your news-making research with the INFORMS Communications Department. Contact INFORMS Communications Director Barry List at or 1-800-4INFORMs.

And now, excerpts on analytics and O.R. in the news:

Robinson presents Edelman Award in Netherlands

At the fourth National Delta Congress, the prestigious American Franz Edelman Award was handed out to the Dutch consortium that won the award in April 2013 in Texas for the project “Economically Efficient Flood Standards to Protect the Netherlands against Flooding.”

In the presence of Minister Schultz van Haegen, Anne Robinson, the president of the American institute INFORMS, gave the award to the team. The consortium developed a new calculation method that is used in the context of the Delta Programme for determining the economically optimal levels of protection against flooding in the Netherlands.

- Dredging Today, Nov. 8

INFORMS President Anne Robinson (r) presents Edelman Award.

INFORMS President Anne Robinson (r) presents Edelman Award.

O.R. analyst jobs command strong salaries

What do agricultural engineers, computer programmers, financial analysts and radiation therapists have in common? They are just a few of the many occupations that earn about $70,000 per year.

If a paycheck like that sounds desirable to you, consider any of the following 14 jobs. These jobs require varying levels of education and work experience, so if you don’t yet have the right qualifications, consider what next steps you should take to help you secure one of these well-paying roles…
Operations research analyst
Job description: Operations research analysts use advanced methods of analysis to help organizations solve problems and make better decisions. They typically identify and define business problems, such as those in production, logistics or sales, and examine information to figure out what is relevant to the problem and what methods should be used to analyze it.
Typical education level: Master’s degree
Median hourly pay: $34.12

- MSN, Careerbuilder, Nov. 7

PBS’ Nova on the Traveling Salesman Problem

INFORMS VP Jack Levis of UPS explains analytics, logistics, and operations research to the New York Times’ David Pogue. For an excerpt of the video, visit:

- PBS Nova, Oct. 16

Big data blues: The ethics of it all

Walker isn’t the first to conceive of a code of ethics for analysts. Earlier this year, the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) drafted a code of ethics to accompany the launch of its Certified Analytics Professional (CAP) certification program.

- CIO, Nov. 4

Voice America: Jack Levis on CAP, Analytics

Listen to the outgoing INFORMS Vice President of Practice explain INFORMS’ new certification and career programs:   

- Voice America, Oct. 23

Management Science study: Borders block ideas, not just people

Borders aren’t just barriers to the movement of people, goods and services. They can prevent ideas from spreading as well. That’s the conclusion of a recent paper published in Management Science by Jasjit Singh of Singapore’s INSEAD business school and Matt Marx of MIT.

To measure the effect, the authors looked at more than 4 million citations of private-sector patents between 1975 and 2004. They found, as MIT News summarizes, that “citations of patents among firms are 1.3 times as likely to spread a comparable distance when within one country and not crossing any borders; more than two times as likely to spread a comparable distance when within a U.S. state; and nearly three times as likely to spread when within one metropolitan region within a state.”

- Slate, Oct. 7

Profile of ‘punk’ O.R.’s Laura McLay

Laura McLay: making a “better haystack.”

Laura McLay: making a “better haystack.”

Laura McLay’s research canvas is massive data – banks of millions of emergency 911 calls, commercial airline flights and ship cargo deliveries – which she uses to help improve decision-making in these high-stakes endeavors.

As a data challenge, it might seem like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack, but McLay is quick to clarify her goal. “You actually never find the needle,” she says. “You just make a better haystack.”

McLay, a new associate professor of industrial and systems engineering at UW-Madison, is an expert in operations research, which she defines as “the discipline of applying advanced analytical methods to help make better decisions.” While not yet a household word among academic fields, operations research received a major awareness boost after the Sept. 11 attacks, as an important tool in improving airline screening and security and combating terrorist threats.

- University of Wisconsin Madison, Oct. 24

Barry List ( is the director of communications for INFORMS.