INFORMS Today: The Podcast Series

Analytics was hot in 2014. What does the year 2015 hold for those of us in this exciting tech field? Glenn Wegryn, the President of the INFORMS Analytics Section and the principal at Analytic Impact, makes his predictions for the new year in this exciting interview. Make sure to listen – then let us know what you think by joining the discussion on INFORMS’ new social media site INFORMS Connect.

Reitter Burciaga

Two of the creators of the INFORMS Analytics Maturity Model – Norman Reitter of CANA Advisors and Accenture’s Aaron Burciaga  – explain how you can improve your organization’s use of analytics on the eve of the model’s official launch at the 2014 INFORMS Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Adam Tanner

What happens in Vegas, to paraphrase the old ad slogan, used tostay in Vegas, but no longer: in this age of capturing online consumer data and data about consumer behavior at casinos and elsewhere, data scientists are stepping onto controversial domain. What do new techniques of capturing your personal data mean to your privacy? Listen to journalist Adam Tanner discuss his book, What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data – Lifeblood of Big Business – and the End of Privacy as We Know It.

Jared Dean, SAS

How should a business leader interested in Big Data – whether a newcomer or a professional with analytics experience – develop and implement a major Big Data initiative? Where can C-level executives and analytics practitioners turn for a primer on the hardware, software, and case studies that inform a major Big Data initiative? SAS’s Jared Dean, formerly of the US Census Bureau, provides insights from his new book, Big Data, Data Mining, and Machine Learning: Value Creation for Business Leaders and Practitioners. Listen to his advice.



Forecasters often take on challenges affecting public policy, but here’s a daunting new application that political scientists at Dartmouth College and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have accepted: predicting mass killings and genocide so that international bodies can intervene and prevent disaster. This week’s guest is political scientist Dr. Jay Ulfelder, who is coordinating an upcoming program, the Early Warning Project, which analyzes data and uses expert panels to identify the potential for mass murder.

Haluk Heirkan and Bulent Dal

If analytics is so great, why do projects go kaput? In their article Why do so many analytics projects fail? in Analytics Magazine, Haluk Demirkan of the University of Washington Tacoma and Bulent Dal of Obase Analytical Solutions point to the most serious causes of project failure – and what you can do to guarantee success. Hear about the most common mistakes for analytics projects and what’s next in the data economy in this probing interview.

When former INFORMS President Brenda Dietrich and two colleagues contemplated ways to explain the myriad possibilities for organizations to use analytics, they decided to exemplify their ideas by opening the IBM vault and sharing highlights of how they had used analytics internally to solve difficult business problems. The result, an IBM Press book entitled Analytics Across the Enterprise: How IBM Realizes Business Value from Big Data and Analytics, was published in June, 2014. Hear Dr. Dietrich talk about IBM’s application of analytics to supply chain, HR, and, of course, Watson, in this week’s INFORMS Today podcast.

Greta Roberts

High employee turnover is bad for business. Predictive analytics can help you hire employees most likely to remain with your organization and flag veteran employees who may depart. The benefit goes straight to return on investment. Hear Talent Analytics’ Greta Roberts on why analytics is becoming an important part of human resources and contributing to the bottom line.

Eben Haber

Can you really tell the difference between customers of Target and Walmart by the language that they use? (Hint: one group curses more!) And how does this knowledge help business people like direct marketers? At the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations ResearchEben Haberof the IBM Almaden Research Center explored the use of psycholinguistics in social media and the newfound applications, as well as the careful ethical line that researchers must walk. Listen to this fascinating explanation of an increasingly important field. 


Sometimes tracking disease is a waste of resources, especially if you won’t use the gathered data to plan remedial action. Other times it’s vital. At the 2014 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research, Martin Isaac Meltzer of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control explored the conundrum in a workshop, “Public Health Surveillance: Economic Value and Possible Role of Large Databases.” In the session he explored important examples, including the fight against meningitis in Africa and the use of real-time data to fight a flu outbreak in the U.S. Listen to him – and watch the excerpt from this fascinating conversation. 

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Barry List

Host Barry List

A series of podcasts with unexpected insights into the way that math, analytics, and operations research affect people like you and organizations like your own. In every segment, an expert explains how he or she changed the world by crunching the numbers. 

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