Sunday, April 18, 2010

Informs Practice Conference 2010 - Day 1

Getting from North Eastern Maine to Orlando involved going thru Detriot. For some reason, this US carrier seems to 'dynamically' assign gates at DTW to arriving aircraft, so we "arrived" 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but arrived 30 minutes later. This is not the first time it's happened. Anyway, the weather is Orlando is great compared to Maine which was in the low 40s when I left ...

The workshops on Day 1 were quite useful. Forio Business solutions had some nice system dynamics tools for building snazzy looking web-simulations. I managed to get through one Markdown Optimization example, simulating different price elasticities. The next workshop was enjoyable as well as informative. Getting to to see the legendary Dr. Bixby in person was cool. Gurobi 3.0 now has a parallel barrier solver in place, and I verified that this one is deterministic. Their dev team is sure keeping a fast pace of major releases and their benchmark results continue to impress and I resolved to learn Python. Finally, the third workshop was with OPTMODEL, SAS's versatile modeling and optimization language / procedure. They displayed some nice decomposition approaches to a Kidney exchange and ATM optimization problems, all deployed within OPTMODEL. I felt that the Kidney exchange model (KEM) could have benefited from some specialized TSP subtour constraints, but then again, some nice work on display by the young OR experts from this company.

It was nice to catch up with old airline colleagues, and INFORMS had some vegetarian food, thankfully. Finally, it was nice to meet Dr. Ravi Ahuja, another O.R. giant, in person. These were the stand-out moments for day 1 - a rare chance of interacting with the stalwarts of our discipline in person.


  1. Yes, it's very impressive what the gurobi development team has done in a shot time, I did not believe it was possible, excellent job by smart people. It will keep the other vendors on their marks to match the pace. This is good for the OR community in general. Have a nice conference.

  2. Yes, seems like a nice business model. They even released their plans for the next two major releases, and this gives potential users like me a lot of confidence. Looking forward to meeting you in next year's conference, if you plan to be there.


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