INFORMS NEWS: Israel’s Yedioth Group wins Wagner Prize

Wagner Prize Committee Chair Allen Butler (center) congratulates Retsef Levi of MIT (left) and Yale Herer (right).

Wagner Prize Committee Chair Allen Butler (center) congratulates Retsef Levi of MIT (left) and Yale Herer (right).

Yedioth Group, an Israeli media company, won the 2013 Daniel H. Wagner Prize from INFORMS for analysis that reduced the cost of delivering print magazines at a time when the news industry is facing ever increasing competition from the Internet and social media.

“Recognizing the importance of reducing the cost of delivering print versions of magazines, Yedioth Group used sophisticated analytics and math modeling to produce outstanding results,” said C. Allen Butler, president of Daniel H. Wagner Associates and chair of the Wagner Prize Committee.

CPMS, the practice section of INFORMS, judged the competition.

The winning entry, titled “Matching Supply and Demand via Delayed 2-Phase Distribution at Yedioth Group - Models, Algorithms and IT,” was authored by Retsef Levi of MIT, Yale Herer of Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and Assaf Avrahami of the Yedioth Group. Using in-cycle sales information, the team developed a pooling model of delayed distribution and practical optimization algorithms. Enabled by EDI/RFID systems, the models and algorithms were implemented at Yedioth, the largest media group in Israel, to support distribution decisions of its print magazines. Dramatic reduction in production and return levels were achieved while maintaining the same levels of sales.

The Daniel H. Wagner Prize for Excellence in Operations Research Practice emphasizes the quality and coherence of the analysis used in the practice of operations research and analytics. The late Dr. Wagner strove for strong mathematics applied to practical problems, supported by clear and intelligible writing. This prize recognizes those principles by emphasizing good writing, strong analytical content, and verifiable practice successes.

The Wagner Prize Committee, in an unusual move to credit a strong contender, announced a second-place winner, a healthcare-related submission, “Modeling and Optimizing Emergency Department Workflow,” presented by Eva K. Lee, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Hany Atallah, Grady Health System and Emory University School of Medicine.

“The joint work that Dr. Atallah and Dr. Lee’s team has done is impressive in many ways, including the fact that lives are saved through more efficient use of the emergency department,” Butler said
The other four finalists included:

  • “SPRINT: Optimization of Staff Management for Desk Customer Relations Services at HERA” by Daniele Vigo, University of Bologna; Beatrice Beleggia, Sandro Bosso, Giuseppe D’Aleo and Molino Rosso, HERA; and Claudio Caremi, and Angelo Gordini, OPTIT
  • “An Integrated Load Planning Algorithm for Outbound Logistics Optimization” by Burcu Keskin, Ibrahim Capar, Nickolas Freeman and Charles Sox, University of Alabama
  • “Optimizing Water Distribution Pressure Management at Valley of the Moon Water District” by Segev Wasserkrug, Alexey Tsitkin and Alexander Zadorojniy, IBM Research, Haifa Israel
  • “Scheduling the German Basketball League” by Stephan Westphal, Institute for Numerical and Applied Mathematics, University of Goettingen