INFORMS NEWS: S.F. conference set to capture hearts & minds

By Candace “Candi” Yano

UPS Prize

Some of San Francisco's many attractions are mobile; others, such as Alcatraz (background), not so much.

Tony Bennett sang that he “left his heart in San Francisco” – and at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco, you will begin to understand why as you take advantage of the opportunity to fill both your heart and your mind. To fill your mind, you can attend special presentations:

  • Alvin Roth, professor of economics at Stanford University and professor of economics and business administration at Harvard University who was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in the area of Game Theory, will talk about his work.
  • Richard Cottle, emeritus professor at Stanford University, will offer a commemorative and historical perspective on George Dantzig in honor of Dantzig’s 100th birthday.
  • Jonathan Caulkins, professor at the Heinz School of Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, will discuss his work on health and drug-related policy issues.
  • Anthony Levandowski of Google will talk about the Google Driverless Car project, offering his perspective as both a developer and a user of the technology.
  • A panel of experts from within the INFORMS community will discuss their experience with, and offer advice on, massively open online courses (MOOCs).

If this is not enough, there will be more than 4,000 technical presentations by experts from industry, academia and government. Topics will be wide-ranging, covering the full breadth of the field, from leading-edge advancements in operations research methodologies and analytics, to applications in healthcare, energy, critical infrastructure management, environmental management and supply chain management.

If you are not already overwhelmed while filling your mind, you will have ample opportunity to fill your heart – and stomach. San Francisco is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world and offers world-class cuisine from almost every ethnic heritage. The meeting will take place in two adjacent hotels, the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and the Parc 55 Wyndham. The location is in close proximity to the city’s prime shopping district and near the boarding point for cable cars to Fisherman’s Wharf – famous for fresh seafood and Pier 39 – where you can see dozens of sea lions and walk to ferries that offer everything from simple rides across San Francisco Bay to amazingly scenic tours, as well as Ghirardelli Square, known for Ghirardelli chocolate.

Venturing into other parts of San Francisco, you can visit world-class museums, including the Palace of the Legion of Honor, DeYoung Museum, Asian Art Museum and California Academy of Sciences. The performing arts, including the symphony, ballet, opera, jazz, theater and concerts, are all within easy reach. If you prefer the outdoors, you can take a trip to the former prison on Alcatraz (a limited number of tickets will be available to conferees for purchase), see the redwoods in Muir Woods, hike in the Marin Headlands with an unobstructed view of the Golden Gate Bridge, sign up to play a round of golf with other conferees at TPC Harding Golf Course the day before the conference, or simply wander through the haunts of the hippies in Haight-Ashbury or the Beat poets in North Beach. Just a bit farther from the city are the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma, only an hour’s drive away.

Both the meeting and the venue will have much to offer in many dimensions. We look forward to seeing you there.

Candace “Candi” Yano is general chair of the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.