ASU expertise in analytics helps bring major conference to Phoenix

Ronald Askin INFORMS Chair

Arizona State University is playing a leading role in one of the largest professional conventions coming to Phoenix this year.

The annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) is expected to draw more than 4,000 of its members and other experts in the field from around the world to the Phoenix Convention Center Oct. 14-17.

The School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, is one of the major organizers of the conference. The school’s director, professor Ronald Askin, is the general chair for the event.

The field of operations research and management science applies analytical methods and mathematical modeling to solve problems in a wide range of industrial sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, service industries, government operations and logistics.

It’s a large part of the field of decision systems engineering, an area of expertise shared by most of ASU’s industrial engineering faculty.

That expertise “is being applied to health care, corporate strategic planning, business operations management, military intelligence and homeland security, and to education and humanitarian relief efforts,” Askin says.

“Ultimately it’s about understanding how organizations and systems behave and the optimal allocation of resources to maximize their performance,” he explains.

The conference program co-chairs are associate professor Esma Gel, chair of the school’s industrial engineering program, and John Fowler, a professor of industrial engineering and chair of the supply chain management program in ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business.

Industrial engineering professor Pitu Mirchandani is the chair for the conference tutorial.

In addition, as many as 40 ASU engineering students will provide assistance in managing the event.

Among featured speakers will be ASU professors George Poste and Edward Prescott.

Poste is an ASU Regents’ Professor, chief scientist of the university’s Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative and the Del E. Webb Chair in Health Innovation. He’ll focus on the role of analytical and computational systems in meeting challenges and creating opportunities in personalized medicine.

Prescott, a professor in the Carey School of Business, is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and director of ASU’s Center for the Advanced Study in Economic Efficiency. His talk is titled “Operations Research and the Revolution in Aggregate Economics.”

Other featured conference sessions will focus on the future of high-performance computing, the role of analytics in decision-making, how risk analysis guides policy at the Department of Homeland Security, and supply chain optimization and the future of manufacturing.

Another highlight will be a special high school teacher training program focusing on new techniques for teaching mathematics more effectively. About 80 Arizona teachers are expected to participate.

Read more about the INFORMS conference.

Read more about INFORMS.