2021 April Inside OR

This issue: In this edition of Inside OR past President John Hopes discusses how to reinvigorate soft OR and we look at modelling in uncertain times, how to deliver reliable exam grades and how to manage imposter syndrome. There are also updates about our events, training, plus much more...

Modelling in uncertain times

Over the last decade, we have seen an exponential increase in the development and deployment of machine learning models. But most of these models work because they are predicated on the simple assumption that the behaviours and patterns observed in historical data will continue into the future. What happens when history ceases to provide a reliable baseline for what we are observing around us?

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Reinvigorating soft OR

When the Heads of OR and Analytics Forum (HORAF) invited me to join John Ranyard and Emma Murray in an initiative aimed at reinvigorating soft OR for practitioners, I was keen to help. It is almost 40 years since Colin Eden opened my eyes to the power of soft OR when he was brought in to address a particularly knotty problem at Shell using cognitive mapping. This emphasised to me that there was a large category of messy problems, involving complexity, multiple stakeholder groups, conflict and uncertainty that could be structured and resolved using soft OR, often without any quantification whatsoever. I have been a big fan of the subject ever since.

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How to deliver reliable school exam grades

February’s editorial invited ideas as to how the school exam grading system might be improved. Even though exams have been cancelled for this year too, sooner or later, they will be back. The enforced gap provides an excellent opportunity to fix the problem, now acknowledged by Ofqual, that exam grades are only “reliable to one grade either way”

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