INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R.

Ruh, Dietrich to keynote April 12-14 event in California.

Huntington Beach, Calif. is the setting for the 15th Annual INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R.

Huntington Beach, Calif. is the setting for the 15th Annual INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R.

Looking for a great opportunity to network, engage, integrate and learn? If so, the 15th Annual INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & O.R. is the conference for you. Set for April 12-14 in Huntington Beach, Calif., the conference will include more than 150 invited, selected and poster presentations that cover a wide range of topics in analytics and operations research. The conference has consistently been the largest analytics-focused event in the world (about 850 attendees expected). 

The INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and O.R. delivers time-proven applications and processes that will improve your business’s bottom line. Anyone who works in analytics, operations research or the management science fields will want to attend this event. 


Keynote speakers William Ruh and Brenda Dietrich headline this year’s event. Ruh will speak on April 13, Dietrich on April 14.

William Ruh is vice president of GE Software, an advanced software technology and shared services organization that serves more than 30,000 engineers across GE business divisions, giving customers the capabilities required to connect intelligent machines, data and people, and to run industrial-scale analytics. Ruh joined GE in 2011 to lead a renewed focus on software and analytics and to drive the global strategy, direction, operations and portfolio of software-based services that harness streams of customized performance data for reaching new levels of productivity. As part of this charter, GE Software is creating an ecosystem of strategic partnerships and investments, developing a common software platform – Predix™ – for powering Industrial Internet offerings, and establishing a portfolio of shared services – cyber security, data science, user experience, cloud and agile development – for building more sustainable and safe products. Ruh has more than 30 years experience in enterprise application integration and object-oriented technology. 

Ruh is an accomplished author and a frequent speaker on such topics as emerging business models, cloud computing, analytics, mobile computing, agile development, large-scale distributed systems and M2M communications.

Brenda Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and vice president. She joined IBM in 1984 and has worked in the area now called analytics for her entire career, applying data and computation to business decision processes throughout IBM. For more than a decade she led the mathematical sciences function in the IBM Research division where she was responsible for both basic research on computational mathematics and for the development of novel applications of mathematics for both IBM and its clients. 

Dietrich has been the president of INFORMS, has served on the Board of Trustees of SIAM and is a member of several university advisory boards. She holds more than a dozen patents, has co-authored numerous publications and frequently speaks on analytics at conferences. She was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014. Her personal research includes manufacturing scheduling, services resource management, transportation logistics, integer programming and combinatorial duality. She currently leads the emerging technologies team for IBM Watson, extending and applying IBM’s cognitive computing technology. 

Topics & Speakers

This year the conference program committee is chaired by Manoj Chari, senior director of Advanced Analytics R&D at SAS Institute. Other committee members include analysts and managers from companies such as Walmart, Boeing, Accenture, Mayo Clinic, Chevron, InterContinental Hotels Group, Walt Disney World, MITRE, Intel, Schneider, Innovative Decisions, Kroger, Deloitte, FICO, Exponent, Lockheed Martin and IBM, as well as leading universities and government agencies. The committee develops the topic tracks, selects speakers and organizes the presentations that comprise the heart of the conference. 

The talks are organized into the following focused tracks: Unstructured Data Analytics, Real-Time Decision Systems, Managing Risk, Supply Chain Applications, Revenue Management and Pricing, Soft Skills in Analytics and Decision Analysis. The program also includes six tracks of contributed talks, tracks on software solutions and poster presentations that include case studies, best practice examples and academic research with a practitioner orientation.

Award-winning Analytics

The 2015 Franz Edelman Award winner will be announced on the evening of April 13 at the Edelman Awards Gala and Banquet. The winning presentation will be reprised as a plenary session on April 14. The Edelman Award is the highest international award for achievement in operations research. This year’s Edelman Award finalists are IBM, Ingram Micro, LMI/ Defense Logistics Agency, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Syngenta and U.S. Army/Sandia National Laboratories. Other high-impact work will be showcased throughout the meeting in talks by finalists and winners of the INFORMS Prize, Daniel H. Wagner Prize, UPS George D. Smith Prize and Innovative Applications in Analytics Award.

Students and Young Professionals

Graduate students and young researchers can take advantage of several opportunities to enhance their learning and network at this event.

The INFORMS Professional Colloquium is designed to help practice-oriented master’s and Ph.D. students transition into successful real-world careers. Analytics and O.R. students graduating from graduate programs are motivated, analytical and technically sound. However, their graduate backgrounds do not necessarily arm them with the softer and higher-level skills necessary for success in industrial careers. This colloquium presents the experience and perspective of practitioners who have bridged the gap to successful careers. They will provide real-world experience and guidance to give the attendees the tools they need to jump-start their new careers. Nominees can benefit from a reduced registration cost of $415. This year the colloquium will take place on April 11. Nominations must be received by March 2. 

The conference also offers the Richard E. Rosenthal Early Career Connection as an exclusive networking program for junior faculty and young industry practitioners. This is a program of special events designed for professionals who are new to their academic or industry careers. The program facilitates networking and introduces participants to well-established researchers and practitioners for more effective communication. Participants can take advantage of a discounted registration of $415, as well as the networking events exclusive to ECC participants. Nominations for this event must be received by March 2. 

Early rates deadline March 23

Early rates of $1,015 for INFORMS members and $1,260 for nonmembers will be available until March 23. 

The conference venue, the Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort & Spa, is a beachfront property in California in the famous Surf City USA, with shimmering views of the Pacific Ocean and luxurious amenities. From surfing to amusement parks, most Orange County activities are minutes away. To make reservations at the Hyatt Huntington Beach at the INFORMS group rate visit

For additional conference information visit:

Focused tracks and speakers

Marketing Analytics

Georgia State University – Harold Ball, Director, Institute for Insight

Cox Automotive – Thomas Gage, Senior Director

Affectiva – Daniel McDuff

University of Maryland – Michel Wedel, Pepsico Chaired Professor of Consumer Science

Unstructured Data Analytics

Exponent – Ellick Chan, Senior Associate, and Adam Rowell, Senior Associate

Disney – Patrick Lucey, Associate Research Scientist

IBM – Shivakumar Vaithyanathan, Chief Scientist, Big Data Analytics, Manager, Scalable Machine Learning

Draper – John Irvine, Chief Scientist, Data Analytics

University of Maryland – Shawn Mankad, Assistant Professor of Business Analytics

Real Time Decision Systems

Schneider – Zahir Balaporia, Director, Process & Technology

Deloitte – Ashish Verma, Director

SAS Institute – Brad Klenz, Principal Architect, Advanced Analytics R&D

ENOVA Financial – Adam McElhinney

Managing Risk

TSA – Kenneth Fletcher, Chief Risk Officer

University of Southern California – Milind Tambe, Helen N. & Emmett H. Jones Professor in Engineering

Davies Consulting – Patrick Delaney, Partner

Supply Chain Applications

Ford Motor Company – Andrew Henry, Optimization and Analytics

Google – Kaan Katircioglu, Senior Quantitative Analyst

Accenture – Takuya Kudo, Managing Director

APL Logistics – Rajiv Saxena

Revenue Management and Pricing 

Disney – Hai Chu, Director of Decision Science

Ernst & Young – Loren Williams, Chief Data Scientist

University of South Carolina – Mark Ferguson, Professor of Management Science

InterContinental Hotels Group – Dev Koushik, Vice President, Pricing & Revenue Management

Amtrak – Sheryl Richards, Vice President, Pricing & Revenue Management

Soft Skills in Analytics

CNA Insurance – Michael Kim

Naval Postgraduate School – Jeffrey Kline, Professor of Practice, OR & Chair of Systems Engineering Analysis

InterWorks – Daniel Murray, Director, Strategic Ideation

Center for Army Analysis – Scott Nestler, Transitioning Military Officer

Decision Analysis

Boeing – Dave Leonhardi, Senior Business Strategist

Decision Analysis Associates – John Celona, President

Chevron – Larry Neal Jr., Decision Analysis Consultant

Strategic Decisions Group – Mazen Skaf, Partner & Managing Director

Lumina Decision Systems, Inc. – Max Henrion, Chief Executive Officer

Plus 33 additional talks and 68 poster presentations!

Award-winning Applications

Learn from the best in high-impact O.R. and analytics applications.

Franz Edelman Competition & Award

An impressive line-up of finalists will compete for the top prize in this “super bowl” of applied operations research, showcasing analytics projects that had major impacts on their client organizations. The finalists and their projects include:

  1. IBM: “Predictive Cloud Computing with Big Data: Professional Golf and Tennis Forecasting”
  2. Ingram Micro: “End-to-End Business Analytics and Optimization in Ingram Micro’s Two-Tier Distribution Business”
  3. LMI/ Defense Logistics Agency: “Peak and the Next Gen: Effective Inventory Control for Items with Infrequent or Frequent, Highly Variable Demand”
  4. Saudi Arabia Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs: “A Pilgrim Scheduling Approach to Increase Public Safety During Hajj”
  5. Syngenta: “Good Growth through Advanced Analytics”
  6. U.S. Army/Sandia National Laboratories: “The Capability Portfolio Analysis Tool (CPAT): A Fleet Management and Decision Analysis Tool”


For effective integration of analytics into organizational decision-making.
2014 Winner: Mayo Clinic (reprise presentation)

Daniel H. Wagner Prize 

For excellence in operations research practice.

  • 2014 Winner: David Simchi-Levi and Peter Y. Zhang (MIT), William Schmidt (Cornell University), Oleg Gusikhin, Don Zhang, Yao Ge, Keith Combs and Michael Sanders (Ford Motor Company), “Identifying Risks and Mitigating Disruptions in the Automotive Supply Chain” (reprise presentation)

Innovative Applications in Analytics Award

For creative developments, applications and combinations of analytical techniques.
2015 finalists:

  1. American Airlines, “Simulation Approach for Aircraft Spare Engines & Engine Part Planning”
  2. Mayo Clinic Rochester, “Intelligent Surgical Scheduling System”

UPS George D. Smith Prize

For effective and innovative preparation of students in O.R. practice.
2015 Finalists to be announced