Bike sharing, air safety, marketing and mor

Compiled by Barry List

INFORMS podcasts continue to offer provocative conversation with leading analytics/O.R. practitioners and thinkers. The latest podcasts include consultant Glenn Wegryn on the Top Five Analytics Trends of 2015 and Norm Reiter and Aaron Burciaga on INFORMS’ Analytics Maturity Model. Visit INFORMS Today at 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 Barry List at or 1-800-4INFORMs.
And now, excerpts from INFORMS in the News:

Doing Good with Good OR - The Citi Bike Example

Citi Bike deploys 6,000 bikes throughout the city that are often taken on more than 10 trips each day. In the morning, commuters pick up a bike near home and drop it off near their job. Near home, supplies dwindle, while midtown stations fill up, sometimes leaving few places to dock. During the day, similar imbalances occur across town. The solution is to “rebalance,” using trucks to move bikes from crowded locations to empty ones. Managing the process “is a good part of my day-to-day,” said Michael Pellegrino, director of operations for NYC Bike Share LLC, the operators of Citi Bike.

David Shmoy (far left in photo) the Laibe/Acheson Professor and director of the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering [at Cornell University] and graduate student Eoin O’Mahony (middle in photo with gray sweater) have developed algorithms and data analysis tools to help rebalance the Citi Bike system as efficiently as possible.

O’Mahony described the system at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting, “Bridging Data and Decisions,” in November in San Francisco. He earned first place and a $1,000 cash prize in the Doing Good with Good OR student competition with his paper, “Smarter Tools for (Citi)Bike Sharing.”
- Cornell Chronicle, Jan. 12

Air Asia Tragedy and Air Safety - Arnie Barnett Weighs In

What role, if any, the failings of Indonesia’s aviation system may have played in the crash of Flight 8501 may not be known for weeks. But in a country of 17,000 islands, where cheap flights are replacing the ferry journeys that Indonesians used to take across the archipelago, the chances of dying on an Indonesian plane, while rare, are unacceptably high, experts say.

Arnold Barnett, [a professor and operations researcher] at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who specializes in airline safety, said that the death rate in airplane crashes over the past decade in Indonesia was one per million passengers who boarded. That rate is 25 times the rate in the United States.
- New York Times, Jan. 1
Editor’s note: For more on aviation safety from Arnold Barnett, including the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mystery, see page 16.

What will Influence Marketing in 2015?

V. Kumar, executive director of the Center for Excellence in Brand & Customer Management, Georgia State University and head, Marketing Science to Marketing Practice Initiative, INFORMS Society for Marketing Science:

I foresee the marketing function transforming into a more crucial role within the organization by becoming an integral part of the organizational decision-making framework. In other words, a tight-knit integration of marketing activities with the other business functions can be expected. This will create unique opportunities for marketers wherein marketing campaigns and strategies will now have to consider the interface of other business functions, and not just the marketing function. Further, interdependencies with other factors such as accountability, investment decisions, technology needs, and operational guidance will come to the fore as companies will begin to realize the power of marketing and its data-oriented analytical capabilities.
- DM News, Dec. 30, 2014

Universities Increasing Programs for Data Scientists

Capital Markets Outlook 2015: Investment in big data continues to increase, but it all means squat if there’s no talent to program the tools, analyze the results and create business value. Universities are responding by creating programs to train a generation of data scientists in technical and business capabilities.
- Information Week, Dec. 29, 2014

5 Things CIOs Should Know About Prescriptive Analytics

What’s the follow-up to predictive analytics? It’s prescriptive analytics, which actually tells you the best action to take. Here are five things you need to know.

First there was descriptive analytics, using data to describe current or past circumstances. Then came predictive analytics, analyzing data to predict a future outcome. Prescriptive analytics suggests the best option for handling that future scenario.

“Prescriptive tells you the best way to get to where you want to be,” says Anne Robinson, director of supply chain analytics at Verizon Wireless and a past president of INFORMS, a society for analytics and operations research professionals. “If you want to differentiate yourself, the next step is the prescriptive tool box.”
- CIO, Dec. 26, 2014

Barry List ( is the director of communications for INFORMS.