The final sessions wrapped up on Wednesday for INFORMS 2010 Annual Meeting in Austin, and it was great to see all of the innovative ways that optimization and operations research techniques are being applied to solve problems that range from optimizing schedules and maximizing yields for planes, trains and automobiles to deciding how consumer products should be placed on the shelf to best utilize space and maximize retail sales.
The theme for this year’s event was “Energizing the future” and there were numerous presentations discussing how to apply simulation and optimization techniques to better leverage the world’s energy resources ranging from how to improve the cost effectiveness of renewable energy and low emission vehicles to how to optimize the scheduling, pricing and distribution of power across the grid.
Combining optimization with analytics was another frequent topic of conversation and the subject of a panel discussion on “Analytics – The Future of INFORMS?” which reviewed the findings of a recent CapGemini study that recommended “INFORMS should pursue a strategy to expand their present business into the analytics market.” Despite this increasing interest in analytics, the term “Decision Management “and its multi-disciplinary approach is still relatively unfamiliar to the operations research community, and many of the attendees were surprised, but happy, to learn that FICO has been successfully combining analytics with business rules and optimization for many years.
FICO presented on a number of topics, including a workshop and showcase highlighting the enhancements and exciting new ultra-large scale capabilities of our recent FICO™ Xpress Optimization Suite 7.1 release, with follow on sessions discussing the use of those capabilities to create “Efficient Approximations for Large-Scale MIP Problems”, and to power FICO client successes with Credit Line Optimization.
INFORMS is an excellent place for career networking and we were pleased by both the quantity and the high caliber of the applicants that we were able to meet with to discuss our current job openings in the UK. We also had a fun evening celebrating the relaunch of our Academic Partner Program, and we were very pleased to have a number of new faces join the program during the event.
All in all a very good conference, and we are looking forward to the INFORMS Analytics Conference in Chicago in April.
Blog post by : Don Griest, Sr. Director, FICO Product Management