INFORMS News: 2018 INFORMS Annual Meeting heading to Phoenix

Set for Nov. 4-7, the Annual Meeting will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency Phoenix.

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Smart City and Sustainable Communities.”

The theme of this year’s annual meeting is “Smart City and Sustainable Communities.” Image © Thinkstock

The 2018 INFORMS Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 4-7 at the Phoenix Convention Center and Hyatt Regency Phoenix in the heart of downtown Phoenix. The Hyatt is just across the street from the Convention Center and both venues are within walking distance to many popular attractions. Four other area hotels are offering an INFORMS group rate, all within a five-minute walk of the conference venues. Sky Harbor International Airport is just 3.5 miles away from the heart of downtown Phoenix, making travel to and from the airport a breeze.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Smart City and Sustainable Communities.” Smart cities are the new paradigm when it comes to urban sustainability. They make sustainable urban solutions such as public transit, renewable energy systems and resource-efficient buildings more attractive and efficient by adding information and communication technologies (ICTs). ICTs enable us to track arrival times of trains, regulate the temperature at home with our smart phones, and balance supply and demand of renewable energy in smart grids. A smart city uses ICT to enhance its livability, workability and sustainability. The light rail transportation system in Phoenix was built to spur urban development along its 20-mile corridor, and it is a perfect example of this. The Central Arizona Project, which was designed to bring approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of Colorado River water annually to Pima, Pinal and Maricopa Counties is another example.

The INFORMS Annual Meeting offers unique opportunities to connect and network with the more than 5,000 INFORMS members, students, prospective employers, employees, and academic and industry experts who compose the INFORMS community. You can listen to intriguing plenary and keynote presentations, panel discussions, tutorials and some of the thousands of oral and poster presentations.

An impressive list of plenary and keynote presentations has been confirmed. Cornell University’s Brenda Dietrich with give the opening plenary talk on “Riding Technology Waves: Perspectives and Opportunities for Operations Research.” Other confirmed plenary and keynote speakers include Kenneth Fletcher of Kestrel Hawk Consulting, Inc., Jorge Calzada of National Grid, Erica Plambeck of Stanford University and Evà Tardos of Cornell University.

Other noteworthy events include the Pro Bono Analytics program, which has partnered with St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, a food bank and distribution network. In Arizona, nearly 30 percent of the population is considered working poor, living on wages that barely cover housing and other basic necessities and have little money to spare on food. This difficult standard of living has left more than 36,000 people homeless and unsure of where their next meal will come from. INFORMS has coordinated a volunteering initiative for the Annual Meeting attendees to build meal bags for Phoenix’s homeless population to help make a positive impact on our host city. You can register for this initiative on the Annual Meeting website. Your support helps INFORMS purchase the necessary items and build the meal bags that will be distributed on the streets of Phoenix to those who need them the most.

Pre-conference workshops will include the INFORMS Combined Colloquia, the INFORMS 10th Conference on Information Systems & Technology, the INFORMS 1st Conference on Service Science, the INFORMS 13th Workshop on Data Mining & Decision Analytics, the QSR 20th Anniversary Celebration Workshop, the INFORMS Workshop on Data Science and numerous technology workshops. All of these events will be held on Saturday, Nov. 3, and some require a separate registration.

New to the event this year will be the Flash Paper Sessions, which are six-minute presentations that include slides. Anyone can submit an abstract for a Flash Paper Session. The hard deadline of May 15 for presentation submissions does not apply to flash or poster sessions.

INFORMS has arranged for room blocks in the Hyatt Regency Phoenix, Sheraton Grand Phoenix Hotel, Renaissance Phoenix Downtown, Residence Inn by Marriott Phoenix Downtown and the Courtyard by Marriott-Phoenix Downtown. These room blocks will sell out fast so make sure you secure your reservations long before the cut-off date of Oct. 4.

We hope you will join the thousands of academics, industry experts, students and government agency representatives for the OR/MS event of the year. For more information regarding the 2018 INFORMS Annual Meeting please visit