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{ Category Archives } OR in the Press

Everyone Needs to Know Some Statistics Part n+1

I have previously written on how decision makers (and journalists) need to know some elementary probability and statistics to prevent them from making horrendously terrible decisions.  Coincidentally, Twitter’s @ORatWork (John Poppelaars) has provided a pointer to an excellent example of how easily organizations can get messed up on some very simple things. As reported by […]

Eating Better and Better Routing

For the last year or so, my wife and I have decided to eat better by doing more “real” cooking.  A great help in this has been a magazine “Real Simple“.  Every month, the magazine publishes a series of recipes, each generally requiring only 20-30 minutes of preparation time.  We like these recipes because they […]

Correction… Operations Research is Not Taking Over the World, Yet

After trumpeting the glorious news that Japan had an operations research-educated Prime Minister, I suppose I should note that Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is resigning after eight months of rule.  With operations research in his arsenal, perhaps he simply fixed everything in those eight months.  But that does not appear to be the case (according […]

Optimizing Discounts with Data Mining

The New York Times has an article today about tailoring discounts to individuals.    They concentrated on Sam’s Club, a warehouse chain.  Sam’s Club is a good place for this sort of individual discounting since you have to be a member to shop there, and your membership is associated with every purchase you make.  So Sam’s […]

Journalists Should Be Required to Pass an Exam on Conditional Probability

There is nothing more grating than having a journalist toss around numbers showing no understanding of conditional probability (actually, there are 12 more grating things, but this ranks right up there).  In a nice story from NBC Chicago, journalists Dick Johnson and Andrew Greiner write about an autistic teen who has picked the first two […]

March Madness and Operations Research, 2010 Edition

Normally I do a long post on operations research and predicting the NCAA tournament.  I did so in 2009, 2008, 2007 and even in 2006 (when I think I made blog entries with an IBM selectric typewriter).   This year, I will cede the ground to Laura McLay of Punk Rock Operations Research, who has a […]

The Magical Places Operations Research Can Take You

Art Benjamin of Harvey Mudd College has an article in this week’s Education Life section of the New York Times where he gives ten mathematical tricks. I first met Art in the late 80s at, I believe, a doctoral colloquium sponsored by ORSA/TIMS (now INFORMS). Art was clearly a star: he won the Nicholson Prize […]

Probability, Mammograms, and Bayes Law

The New York Times Magazine Ideas Issue is a gold mine for a blogger in operations research. Either OR principles are a key part of the idea, or OR principles show why the “idea” is not such a great idea after all. One nice article this week is not part of the “ideas” article per […]

Stephen Baker, ex-Business Week

Stephen Baker, a senior writer at Business Week, is part of the group that was not offered a job after that magazine was bought by Bloomberg. Steve’s journalism has been a tremendous boon to the world of operations research. His cover story “Math will Rock Your World” pointed out all the ways mathematics is affecting […]

Without Operations Research, Gridlock!

In many applications, it can be difficult to measure the effect of an operations research project.  For instance, my colleagues and I provide schedules for Major League Baseball.  What is the value added by the operations research we do?  MLB doesn’t have the time, energy or money to handle multiple schedulers in parallel:  they decided […]