2019 May

This month reviews efforts made to introduce business and industry to modelling ‘the OR way’ and explores the significant interactions AI has with OR. Other topics include how OR can use machine learning to achieve excellent decision support, an examination of the Python and R programming languages and the financial state of the journals published on behalf of The OR Society by Taylor and Francis.

Leader - Publications: bright new future or storm clouds ahead?

We have now been with our new publishers, Taylor and Francis, for over a year. The first year’s financial returns are in and I’m pleased to report that the financial return to the OR Society from our publications in 2018 was over the minimum amount guaranteed in the new contract, with expectations of further growth in the future. The OR Society depends heavily on income from its publications to support other activities and developments, so this is very welcome news. There have been some production glitches to overcome, but those problems have been addressed and publications are generally back on schedule.

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Bracketology: not just about sports analysis

The term “Bracketology” has been much in the news over recent months. For those who have not heard of it, bracketology is one small sector within the larger discipline of OR and data analytics. It has found considerable application and publicity recently because of its application in college basketball (not just an American sport these days) and its ability of predicting the field of college basketball participants in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Apparently, Barack Obama became famous for his “bracket” predictions whilst in office.

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Introducing business and industry to modelling, the OR way

Assuming we are talking timescales of days and years, rather than nano-seconds and hours, this is a view that motivates the great majority of OR and OR people. So The OR Society was delighted to read the government’s Blackett Review on Computational Modellingii, which used that argument amongst many to advocate for greater use of modelling in all sectors of the economy. While the snappy buzzwords of data science and analytics continue to get the attention, many of us remain convinced that it is the modelling on top of these that really makes the difference.

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Invitation to bid to provide OR Society Training Courses in 2020

The OR Society’s Training Working Group (TWG) invites bids to provide training courses in 2020. All offers of courses will be considered, though there is no guarantee of acceptance.

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How do you think OR (and The OR Society) should respond to the challenges and opportunities of Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and related fields such as Machine Learning (ML) are evolving very rapidly, as will be evident to anyone reading the plethora of articles, reports and discussions in the wider world as well as in Inside OR. AI also has significant interactions with – and implications for – OR and hence also for The OR Society.

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Operational research meets machine learning – a report

Bologna, the red city (named for its politics or its buildings, as you prefer) is home to Europe’s oldest continually-operating university. It was also home to the two-day event organised by the EURO Working Group on Practice of OR (EWG-POR) on how OR can use machine learning to achieve excellent decision support.

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Python versus R – The 21st Century Analyst’s Choice of Weapon

Writing code is the domain of all analysts. To argue otherwise is to be ignorant about the power of coding, the outputs it can produce, and the direction of travel of analytical functions. To only be able to use Excel to conduct analysis in 5 years’ time will mean being left behind. So you’re an individual that wants to upskill to further your career or a team leader that wants your team to upskill to add resilience and capitalise on the additional insight using coding for analysis can provide – where do you start? What language do you pick?

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