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{ Category Archives } Challenges

Help Santa Plan His Tour (Twice!)

Just in time for the holidays, there is a very nice competition at Kaggle: The Traveling Santa Problem. The problem was devised by the ever-creative Bob Bosch, about whom I have written before. The problem is an interesting variant on the Traveling Salesman Problem. Given a set of points and distances between them, the TS(alesman)P […]

Registries To Avoid Publication Bias

I have been thinking about the issue of how a field knows what they know.  In a previous post, I wrote about how the field of social psychology is working through the implications of fraudulent research, and is closely examining the cozy interactions between journals, reviewers, and famous researchers.   And any empirical field based on statistical […]

Optimizing Angry Birds

Most operations research competitions look at problems that are, frankly, dull.  At least to the non-OR-connoisseur.   Whether it is optimizing computer usage, nurse scheduling,  financial portfolio creation, or rescheduling airplanes, there is a certain utilitarianism about operations research competitions.  There are some competitions that have some level of charm (predicting murders in Philadelphia perhaps). […]

The Treasure has been Found!

I wrote previously about an “Analytics Treasure Hunt” organized by John Toczek.  I have just heard from John that the treasure has been found: Just wanted to give you an update on the 2012 Analytics Treasure Hunt.  The treasure was found by two member team, Madineh Sarvestani and Shepard Wallace who successfully retrieved the treasure […]

I may be depressed but I could win some money through operations research

I got an email recently from John Toczek, an OR professional with Aramark who writes the PuzzlOR column for OR/MS Today): You ran an article on a contest I created back in 2010 called the Analytics X Competition [] where contestants were trying to predict where homicides would occur in Philadelphia zip codes.  That contest ended […]

Benchmarks: Coloring, Sports and Umpires

I have always felt strongly that operations research needs more libraries of instances for various problem classes, along with listings of current best solutions.  By tracking how well we solve problems over time, we can show how we advance as a field.  It also makes it easier to evaluate new work, making both authors and […]

Another Operations Research Challenge: ROADEF, EURO, and Google

I am a big fan of “challenges” in operations research.  Almost twenty years ago, I ran a DIMACS Challenge on finding cliques, coloring graphs and solving satisfiability problems.  That challenge gave a clear picture of where we were then in those areas and showed the variety of approaches possible for those three problems.  I also  […]

Call for Challenging MIP Problems

MIPLIB is a collection of instances of Mixed Integer Programs.  Versions of MIPLIB have been around since 1992, and these have been invaluable as we see how we have advanced in solving difficult MIP instances. Some instances that were essentially unsolvable twenty years ago can now be solved in a fraction of a second.  We […]

World Cup Forecast Pool, with a Twist

The Brazilian Society of Operations Research is organizing a competition for predicting the results of the group stage at the upcoming World Cup.  If you have to ask for which sport, you probably aren’t the target audience:  it is for football (aka soccer).  Many sites have such pools for many sports:  for US college basketball, […]

Nurse, Nurse! Where’s my Nurse?

I am a sucker for competitions.  The people at PATAT (a conference series Practice and Theory of Automated Timetabling; I was co-chair for their 2004 conference, and a member of their steering committee for a few years) do a really good job at timetabling competitions.  I really liked their competition for the 2008 conference on […]