The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, or INFORMS, annual meeting is the largest in the field, with more than 5,600 attendees. This year, researchers in the University of Arizona’s Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering are leading the event on Nov. 4-7, the theme of which is “Smart City and Sustainable Communities.” The College of Engineering is one of the event’s diamond sponsors.
“Our department, faculty, staff and students are honored to lead this conference,” said Young-Jun Son, SIE department head and the first-ever UA representative to act as general chair of the conference. “Smart cities are the new paradigm when it comes to urban sustainability.”
Keynote speakers include Russell Allgor, chief scientist at Amazon; Jorge Calzada, former director of data science at National Grid; and Garrett van Ryzin, head of Marketplace Labs at Lyft and professor at Cornell Tech. Brenda Dietrich, former vice president of IBM and now a faculty member at Cornell University; Anna Nagurney, a professor and director for the Virtual Center of Supernetworks at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Kenneth Fletcher, former chief risk officer at the Transportation Security Administration and now president of Kestrel Hawk Consulting, are among the plenary speakers.
In addition to Son, the UA is represented by program co-chair Pavlo Krokhmal, contributed sessions co-chair Jian Liu, poster session co-chairs Neng Fan and Junming Yin, sponsored session co-chair Jianqiang Cheng, and arrangements co-chair Danielle Embry.
“Annual INFORMS meetings are among the largest professional events in the entire field of engineering, not just industrial and systems engineering,” Krokhmal said. “As program co-chair, it has been exciting to work with many different people across the academic and industrial communities to bring together thousands of speakers and attendees who will share their latest research.”
In conjunction with the conference, the department and the University of Arizona are hosting a pre-workshop called Data and Decisions by invitation only. Honored guests will speak on data analytics and decision sciences on the UA campus, and UA faculty and students will have the chance to spend time with some of the finest minds in the field.
“These are really top-notch people, so we wanted to bring them to the UA,” Son said. “Students will get to see them speak, and bringing them here will help to increase the visibility of the SIE department.”
UA students will also benefit from the opportunity to attend the INFORMS conference in Phoenix. Many SIE graduate students will be presenting their research at the conference, and even many undergraduates -- who don’t often have the opportunity to attend professional conferences -- will be attending as volunteers.
The conference doubles as an excellent networking opportunity for faculty and soon-to-be graduates. When they’re not busy presenting research, senior graduate students can attend the conference’s job fair, or let their UA professors introduce them to faculty and industry leaders from companies or institutions that will be hiring.
“This conference has been growing tremendously and it attracts a lot of people in industry, not just academia,” Son said. “Here, we talk about machine learning and data analytics and some of the key areas that are really popular in industry, so we get to meet a lot of the industry participants and talk about collaborative opportunities.”