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## Python Is Not C
I have been using Python a lot lately, for various data science projects. Python is known for its ease of use. Someone with coding experience can use it effectively in few days. This sounds good but there may be an issue if you program in Python as you would in another language, say C. Let me give an example based on my own experience. I have a strong background with imperative languages like C and C++. I also have substantial experience with oldies but goodies like Lisp and Prolog. I also used Java, Javascript,... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics python programming |

## No, The TSP Isn't NP Complete
Two recent blog posts discussing the Traveling Saleman Problem (TSP) led me to write this post. The two blog posts are What is Operations Research by Graham Kendall, and I’ve Been Everywhere (Optimally…) by Rob Jefferson. Both are worth reading (I wish I had written them..). These posts share two interesting properties: both discuss the TSP, and both make a slight mistake about the TSP. The same mistake occurs regularly in blog posts and even books. The mistake is... [More]
Etiquetas: optimization analytics np |

## Free CPLEX Software For Academics
Here is an update of my previous post on this topic . IBM ILOG CPLEX Optimization Studio (CPLEX) is free for for academics thanks to the IBM Academic Initiative. If you are not a faculty member, you may be interested by the free trials available on our developerWorks site. IBM Academic Initiative (AI) is a global program that faculty members, research professionals at accredited institutions, and qualifying members of standards organizations can join. Members can get full versions of a large... [More]
Etiquetas: free cplex academic |

## The Role Of Data Science
I am sure I'll get flamed for this post, given how hyped data science is. Let me first say that I do not pretend to define what data science is, others, probably more qualified than me, have done it well. For instance, I like this definition from Dawen Peng, as it speaks to an Operations Research person like me. I will rather focus on the role data science can have for business. What I see the most is data scientists analyzing data then publishing reports on insights they found in data. Just browse over... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics big_data data_science |

## Deploy IPython Notebooks With Docker On Bluemix In Minutes
Are you interested in deploying Docker containers in IBM Bluemix ? Are you developing these containers on a Windows workstation with Boot2Docker? If you answered yes to both then this post is of interest. Furthermore, if you are using IPython notebooks then this post is definitely worth a read! The Docker container service on IBM Bluemix is IBM Containers . This service is currently in beta test and I was lucky enough to get access to it. You can register for the beta on Bluemix home page shown above. In... [More]
Etiquetas: bluemix boot2docker python ipython docker |

## How Zara Really Grew Into the World s Largest Fashion Retailer
The New York Times recently published an interesting paper on How Zara Grew Into the World’s Largest Fashion Retailer . The paper describes the Fast Fashion business model that fuels Zara' growth. What the paper doesn't say is that mathematical optimization played a key role in enabling this business model. More precisely, Zara worked with MIT and UCLA on several business problems. There are few publications, I pasted their abstracts below. Clearance Pricing Optimization for a Fast-Fashion Retailer Fast-fashion
retailers such as Zara... [More]
Etiquetas: customer analytics zara retail optimization |

## Simulation And Optimization Are Not The Same
Selling optimization to happy users of simulation technology can be a tough nut to crack. Here is an example I find quite effective at opening eyes. Before diving into it let me start with a disclaimer. I am not trying to show that optimization is superior to simulation, nor am I trying to undermine the value of simulation. I simply want to make clear that simulation and optimization are two different things, each with its own value. There are cases where optimization is a better fit, as shown below. There are also cases where simulation... [More]
Etiquetas: simulation optimization analytics |

## The Analytics Maturity Model
Update on Sept 21, 2015. An improved version of this model is presented in Analytics Maturity Models. Analytics can be defined in many ways, but what matters is the purpose of analytics. Most definitions agree on the following: analytics is used to gain insights from data in order to make better decisions, see for instance INFORMS definition : Analytics is defined as the scientific process of transforming data into insight for making better decisions. Some speak of actionable insights to stress the purpose of such... [More]
Etiquetas: optimization analytics |

## NP Or Not NP? That Is The Question
A recent blog entry on TSP and NP completeness made me write the long overdue entry I wanted to write about complexity of optimization problems. It comes in play when customers ask this simple question: My problem takes too long to solve, what can I do? I'm pretty sure most optimization professionals heard this question at least once. I already blogged about it in my It Is Too Slow entry without actually answering it (clever isn't it?) Here are various ways to answer it depending on your own agenda. As
an employee of one of the largest... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics complexity optimization |

## The Orange Juice Algorithm
Update on May 20. A recent Network World paper discloses that Coca Cola is indeed using our optimization software for the orange juice application I originally described in the blog entry below. A nice, recent, article in BloombergBusinessweek describes a very interesting use of mathematical optimization at Coke. Optimization is used to ensure that their Minute Maid and Simply Orange orange juices always taste the same. This paper caused some buzz because it is said that a problem of up to one quintillion... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics optimization solution modeling |

## What Is The Difference Between SPSS And ILOG ?
Sure, I would have preferred a more generic title, such as What is the difference between predictive analytics and prescriptive analytics? What is the right decision management technology I need? instead of the IBM specific What is the difference between SPSS and ILOG? Truth is that this is the question people ask us when they understand that analytics may help them, The other questions above assume some knowledge of analytics and decision management, which isn't widely spread as of today. Let's look at the question... [More]
Etiquetas: prescriptive spss optimization ilog predictive analytics |

## CPLEX made easier for academics by removing licence key
Update on Dec 10, 2013 A more recent post on this topic can be found here . As part of our effort to make optimization pervasive we made our optimization products free for academic use two years ago. In order to do this we leveraged the IBM Academic Initiative. IBM Academic Initiative is a global program that faculty members, research professionals at accredited institutions, and qualifying members of standards organizations can join. Members can get full versions of a large selection of IBM software, including IBM ILOG... [More]
Etiquetas: academic optimization analytics |

## Solving the hardest Sudoku - part 1
Do you know the hardest Sudoku problem? Do you know the best way to solve it? Before answering these questions, let me remind you of what the Sudoku puzzle is about in case you haven't read a newspaper in the last decade (adapted from wikipedia ): The objective is to fill a 9×9 grid with digits so that the digits in each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid (also called ""blocks") are pairwise different. The puzzle setter provides a partially completed grid, which... [More]
Etiquetas: constraint_programming mathematical_optimization optimization analytics sudoku mathematics |

## Analytics Education Series
Stephan Jou and I created an education series around analytics for IBM employees earlier this year. Given the success and the quality of presentations it was decided to make this series available outside IBM at no cost for participants. This curriculum is focused on the science, not the products, as we're interested in providing you with descriptions of the purpose and science behind the various analytics methods. It's a veritable 360 degree review of analytics including topics like descriptive analytics, statistics, data... [More]
Etiquetas: analytics education |

## D-Wave vs CPLEX Comparison. Part 2: QUBO
Can we improve CPLEX performance for yet another test series used in McGeoch&Wang paper , namely the native QUBO instances? According to the paper, these instances were random instances constructed to match what the D-Wave hardware can solve directly. These are problems of the form minimize sum ij Q ij x i x j where all the variables x i are binary. Such problems are called QUBO (Quadratic Unconstrained Binary Optimization ) problems. CPLEX release 12.3 didn't do very well according to the paper (although it was... [More]
Etiquetas: optimization d-wave qubo modeling |