2019 eNews Daily
Wrap Up Edition


3figuresThank You for Attending the 2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting

Check out a recap of the final day of the conference, including blog posts and student writer coverage, award winners, and other meeting highlights!

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Thank you for attending the 2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting. We hope your meeting experience was rewarding and valuable. Your feedback is critical to improving and shaping future annual meetings. Please take a moment to submit your feedback regarding your experience at this year’s meeting.
Please fill out the below evaluation by Friday, November 22 at midnight EST. Thank you.
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2 people-2 Recap of Tuesday's INFORMS Member Meeting

For updates on INFORMS programs and initiatives and a look ahead to what's in store as INFORMS prepares to celebrate its 25th anniversary, check out coverage of the INFORMS Member Meeting. Click here to read more. 


award2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting Awards

Congratulations to the 2019 Award Winners!

  • Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Health Services 
    David Mildebrath, Rice University
  • Bonder Scholarship for Applied Operations Research in Military Applications
    Nicholas Shallcross, University of Arkansas
  • INFORMS Case Competition 
    Saurabh Bansal, The Pennsylvania State University
  • Prize for the Teaching of the OR/MS Practice
    Patrick Noonan, Emory University
  • Saul Gass Expository Writing Award
    Sunil Chopra, Northwestern University
  • Philip McCord Morse Lectureship Award 
    Peter Glynn, Stanford University
  • John von Neumann Theory Prize 
    Dimitris Bertsimas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Jong-Shi Pang, University of Southern California
  • Frederick W. Lanchester Prize 
    Tim Roughgarden, Stanford University
    Omar Besbes, Columbia University
    Yonatan Gur, Stanford University
    N. Bora Keskin, Duke University
    Assaf Zeevi, Columbia University
  • George E. Kimball Medal
    Peter C. Bell, Western University
    Edward Kaplan, Yale University
  • INFORMS President’s Award
    Dimitris Bertsimas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    Click here for video.
  • Four special student awards:
    • Undergraduate Operations Research Prize
      Milan Preet Kaur, University of Waterloo
    • George E. Nicholson Student Paper Competition
      Yilun Chen, Cornell University
    • Doing Good with Good O.R. Student Competition
      Somya Singhvi, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • George B. Dantzig Dissertation Prize
      Sebastien Martin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Daniel H. Wagner Prize Winner
Congratulations to Zhiwei Qin, Xiaocheng Tang, and Yan Jiao of DiDi Research America, Mountain View, CA; and Fan Zhang, Zhe Xu, Hongtu Zhu, Jieping Ye of Didi Chuxing, Beijing, China, for their winning paper, Ride-hailing Order Dispatching on DiDi via Reinforcement Learning.

"Order dispatching (or order matching) is instrumental to the marketplace engine of a large-scale ride-hailing platform like DiDi. Due to the dynamic nature of supply and demand, the ride-hailing order dispatching problem is very challenging to solve over a long horizon. Added to the complexity are considerations of system performance and multi-objectives. In this paper, we describe the evolution of our approach to this optimization problem from a myopic combinatorial optimization approach to one that encompasses a semi-MDP model and deep reinforcement learning for long-term optimization."

Student Chapter Awards Winners

  • Judith Liebman Award
    Andrew Chung Chee Law, Virginia Tech
    Brittany Segundo, Texas A&M University
    Ann Svirsko, University of Pittsburgh
  • Student Chapter Annual Awards
    Summa cum laude:
    Texas A&M University
    University of South Florida
    University of Michigan
    Magna cum laude:
    Northeastern University
    University at Buffalo – SUNY
    Virginia Tech
    Carnegie Mellon University
    Cum laude:
    University of Pittsburgh
    Clemson University
    Lehigh University
    Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
    Pennsylvania State University
    Purdue University
    New York Institute of Technology – NYIT
    University of Oklahoma
  • INFORMS Undergraduate Scholarship Awards
    Elisa Danthinne, Northeastern University
    Michael Gao, Harvey Mudd College
    Angela  Lin, Rice University
    Luiza Marques Santos, Texas Tech University

Subdivision Awards
Throughout the Annual Meeting, the INFORMS subdivisions presented their own awards. Click here for the full list of awards.


probono-1OR What? Student Video Competition 

Check out the New Video, Inspired by the 2019 Winning Team!
Check out the new INFORMS student video, inspired by the winning submission for the OR What? Student Video Competition from the Virginia Tech INFORMS Student Chapter. Unveiled during the 2019 Annual Meeting, INFORMS, faculty, and student communities will use this video to reach undergraduates around the world, creating awareness of the field and the career opportunities in O.R. and analytics that await STEM students who want to make a difference. Click here to watch the video!

poster-1Interactive Poster Session Winners 

Monday, October 21
Congratulations to Noreen Kamal for her winning poster, Development Of An Interactive Visualization For Best Transport Scenario To Optimize Outcomes For Stroke Patients Using A Statistical Probability Model.

"Endovascular treatment (EVT) for ischemic stroke is a new treatment that is only available at urban tertiary hospitals; it is given with a medical treatment that is widely available. There is uncertainty on the best transportation scenario. Is it better to transport to the closest hospital and receive medical treatment early and then transfer for EVT or bypass this hospital to receive both treatments at the tertiary hospital? A mathematical model was developed incorporating variables that effect patient outcomes using data from clinical trials. The model was the basis for the development of a cloud software showing the best transport scenario through interactive maps to assist with decision making."

Poster Session Winner-Monday

Tuesday, October 22
Congratulations to 
Imtiaz Ahmed for his winning poster, Unsupervised Anomaly Detection Using Graph Regularized Autoencoders.

"In this work, we attempt to solve the problem of anomaly detection when high dimensional data lies near low dimensional manifold. Autoencoders enables us to extract the low dimensional features necessary for anomaly detection. However, the possibility of manifold structure and required local distance preservation is not considered. We use minimum spanning tree, a graph algorithm to approximate the intrinsic distance in presence of manifold structure. We incorporate the MST guided local structure inside the Autoencoder framework as a new regularizer. Hence, it maintains the local invariance property and provide better detection capability compared to Euclidean distance based regularizer."

Poster Session Tuesday


bookAnnual Meeting Blog Roundup

Be sure to frequently check the Annual Meeting website to read commentary from your peers about their experiences in Seattle. Feel free to post your own comment! 

pen and paper-12019 Student Writer Meeting Coverage

Optimizing Public Policy
By Violet Chen
There has been a rising interest in applying modelling and optimization tools to improve public policy design. The Wednesday morning session, “Optimizing Public Policy,” featured three interesting talks on this topic. Theodore Papalexopoulos, PhD student from the MIT Operations Research Center, talked about “Redistricting Liver Allocation: A Simulation-Optimization Approach.” The presented work is joint with Dr. Dimitris Bertsimas, Dr. Nikolaos Trichakis, Yuchen Wang, Dr. Ryutaro Hirose, and Dr. Parsia Vagefi. They introduced a simulation-based optimization approach for balancing fairness and efficiency in liver allocation. From the perspective of policymakers, fairness is associated with lower mortality rates from allocation, and efficiency represents goals including lower transportation cost and fewer organ discards due to transportation delay. Read More.

Keynote: Marketplace Modeling: Managing Scale and Accuracy
By Amira Hijazi
Facebook social good works on building powerful tools that improve people’s lives. Fundraiser matching, matching jobs and applicants, blood donation recommendations, friend suggestions, rendering feeds, and online advertising are some of the initiatives announced by Facebook social good. These initiatives have a widespread real-world impact. However, the output of these initiatives needs to be equitable, accurate, and take into consideration the large scale of such initiatives. Read More.

Online and Reinforcement Learning
By Aida Rahmattalabi
The 2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting has come to an end with a series of exciting sessions on Wednesday. In particular, the session “Online and Reinforcement Learning,” hosted five interesting talks, discussing the challenging machine learning problems. Read More.

Keynote: People, Machines and Intelligence
By Violet Chen
Back in the 1960s, Dr. J. C. R Licklider plotted a long-term dream of man-computer symbiosis, “people will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking.” On Wednesday afternoon, in his keynote talk, Dr. Eric Horvitz, Technical Fellow at Microsoft and Director of Microsoft Research Labs, enlightened the audience with several current opportunities to continue realizing this dream. Since the beginning of his career as a post-doc consultant at NASA, he has been passionate about “harnessing computing advances to enhance the quality of people’s lives” and “leveraging the complementarities of human and machine reasoning.” He discussed four key opportunities at fostering a tighter coupling between human and machine. Read More.

Human Trafficking
By Amira Hijazi
Human trafficking is defined as the exploitation of children, women, and men for sexual slavery, forced labor, and the extraction of organs or tissues. The International Labor Organization estimates that 40 million people were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016. Human trafficking has two major types: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Labor trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, by force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery. Read More.

Social Media Analytics: Contemporary Topics and Techniques
By Aida Rahmattalabi
In the modern world, social media is becoming a powerful means of analyzing different user behaviors. In the session “Social Media Analytics: Contemporary Topics and Techniques,” three interesting talks summarized some of the recent results in this area. Read More.

probono-4Pro Bono Analytics at the 2019 Annual Meeting

INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics is partnered with Seattle-based nonprofit organization, FareStart, an organization providing people who are struggling with the skills they need to get a job in the field of food services and culinary arts, while also helping to provide necessities like clothing and food, to build hygiene kits and make “no-sew” blankets for homeless students. Click here to learn more.



thumbsup Check Out Photos From the Meeting

Check out photos, videos and other coverage from throughout the meeting on Twitter @INFORMS2019, Instagram and the INFORMS Flickr account.