ASU expertise in analytics helps bring major conference to Phoenix

October 8, 2012

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. Ronald Askin INFORMS Chair Download Full Image

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.

Joe Kullman

Science writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Sun Devil Homecoming hits streets of Tempe Oct. 27

October 8, 2012

Arizona State University is proudly gearing up for the annual Homecoming celebration set to take place on Oct. 27.

Sun Devil Homecoming: A Golden Decade will showcase the innovation and entrepreneurship that has taken place over the course of 10 years, in part due to ASU President Michael Crow’s extraordinary vision of higher education. Download Full Image

“Homecoming is a fantastic celebration. In ASU style, not only is the entire ASU community, which includes faculty, staff, students and alumni, invited, but we include the community at large,” said Virgil Renzulli, ASU’s vice president of public affairs.

To kick off the weekend, the ASU Alumni Association, in partnership with the Sun Devil Club, will honor nearly 200 alums who have played professional football on Friday, Oct. 26, at the “Legends Luncheon: Celebrating the NFL” event. ASU’s “honor roll” of former NFL players includes Jake Plummer, Mike Haynes, Ron Pritchard, Juan Roque, Danny White and J.D. Hill, all of whom are scheduled to attend the luncheon. The event will start at 11:30 a.m., at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.

On Oct. 27 the annual Homecoming Parade will make its way down the streets of Tempe four hours prior to kickoff at the Homecoming football game. The fun will begin at McAllister Avenue and University Drive and continue on University to College Avenue.

This year’s grand marshal is Crow, a fitting honor as the weekend is focused on his accomplishments and fellow university staff members. The president’s leadership team will accompany him in the parade.

The Homecoming block party will begin immediately after the parade. Attendees will be treated to more than 100 family-friendly booths and interactive displays. The Kidz Zone will feature several bounce houses, stage performers, Club ASU activities and more. Student athletes will be signing autographs for fans at the block party as well.

The day will lead up to the ASU vs. UCLA football game in Sun Devil Stadium as Sparky and fans cheer the team on to victory. The official game time will be announced on Oct. 15. Tickets may be purchased in person or by calling the Sun Devil Ticket Office at 480-727-0000.

"Everyone knows how much I respect and honor heritage and tradition, so when it comes to Homecoming I really get excited," said head football coach Todd Graham. "Homecoming is a time for all alumni to return to campus, not only to observe the traditions of the university, but to relive their history with the school.

“I'm all about honoring the past and those who came before us in this great game of football. Alumni can do the same with their university during Homecoming, all wrapped around the color and pageantry of a college football game. It doesn't get any better than that.”

Parking lots and structures in the northern portion of campus (north of University Drive) are open five hours prior to kickoff for prepaid season ticket parking passes, and cash lots are open three hours before kickoff. For more information on parking, visit or

For details and a complete schedule of Homecoming events and activities, visit