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Decision Optimization In The Cloud at INFORMS Annual Meeting
Update on Jan 10, 2015. Decision Optimization on Cloud open beta is now available. I documented step by step on boarding here, but you can also try by yourself here . Trying Decision Optimization on Cloud beta: part 1, Demo Trying Decision Optimization on Cloud beta: part 2, CPLEX Trying Decision Optimization on Cloud beta: part 3, OPL Our INFORMS conference slides are available at our INFORMS 2014 Annual Meeting page Original post: The IBM Decision Optimization team will be quite active at the forthcoming... [More]
Tags: analytics cplex optimization cloud 
Lessons Learned
I had the honor to be invited to give a talk by the Or Complete group on a topic of my choice during a Google Plus hangout . I decided to speak about lessons learned when selling optimization to business users. Readers of this blog won't be surprised, as this is what this blog is about. Slides are available on slideshare Slide show plus voice recording is available on youtube thanks to OR complete team. Note that I had a flu, hence my voice is not my usual one, and the flow is very slow... I covered some topics already covered in this... [More]
Tags: change optimization business 
I Want The Best Solution
Who among optimization practitioners hasn't heard at least one customer saying "I want the best solution" ? I certainly did. When that happens one has to manage expectations because solving real problems to optimality may not be possible in a reasonable time. Customers must understand that finding the best solution and prove it is the best one is not always doable. They should instead focus on finding the best possible solution in a limited amount of time. If they agree to it, then they find it valuable to... [More]
Tags: optimization moov analytics 
Looking Under The Hood
Go to market (GTM) is something you must understand very quickly if you try to live from selling what you do. For optimization, we converged on a very simple view at IBM. There are two categories of customers, those who understand the technology, and those who don't. The formers are operations research (OR) practitioners and OR academics. The latter are line of business (LOB) people. Understanding how the technology work is not so much important to them. What is important is to understand what it enables. The OR market is well served by... [More]
Tags: optimization modeling 
Efficiency Can Get You In Trouble
This post was triggered by a recent tweet by Laura McLay. Laura was pointing to John D. Cook entry on how Efficiency could land you in jail . In that post John explains how a German postman was almost fired because he found better (read more efficient) ways to deliver mail. The story may be a bit more complex (read Chris Nahr's comment on John's post), but it seems plausible. Basically, the postman was punished because he was breaking some glass in order to gain efficiency. In short,... [More]

The Executive Guide To Optimization
Steve Sashihara, CEO of Princeton Consulting, has authored a book that readers of this blog should like: The Optimization Edge For those who haven't read it yet (and those who have read it for that matter) I suggest you attend a forthcoming Information week webcast on Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET . Here is the announcement text: The Executive Guide to Optimization Watch
this webcast and learn how to efficiently reallocate your resources and
make timesensitive, complex decisions that drive up market share and... [More]
Tags: optimization book 
2012 Edelman Award Recipient Uses CPLEX
I didn't had the chance to attend the 2012 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research where TNT Express, Ortec and Tilburg University won the prestigious 2012 Edelman Award. I've discussed Edelman award extensively here . One OR expert on the winning team told my colleague Jeremy Bloom that they were using CPLEX along with other unnamed tools. We will deep dive on the use of CPLEX here when details will have been published. It is worth noting that beside adopting OR tools, TNT Express has teamed up with the... [More]
Tags: optimization analytics edelman cplex 
Common Sense Operations
Is Optimization the tool of choice for improving operations? I tend to say yes, because we can be proud of the impact of optimization on various businesses and industries. See for instance the Franz Edelman Award finalists for examples of tremendous achievements . Yet, I regularly see nice alternative to using optimization techniques being successfully used. Let me give two examples. I have been visiting a trucking company a while ago, pitching optimization as a way to significantly decrease mileage and fuel... [More]
Tags: analytics optimization 
Un Peu de Math avec CPLEX
There is one thing I didn't disclose in my previous post (Un Peu de Math) on the Analytic Bridge Mathematical Competition : I used CPLEX to refine and validate various hypothesis. As usual, my first try wasn't very convincing, and I had to rely on better understanding of the problem to solve it efficiently. Let me start with a statement of the optimization problem to be solved. A permutation x is a function such that x(i) is in the set {0,1,...,n1} for all i in that set.... [More]
Tags: modeling mathematics 
More On Absolute Value
I needed to model an absolute value in a MIP model. I could have used one of the methods described in the very good review by Paul Rubin , but another method seemed better suited to my special case. I am given a binary variable z and an integer variable x such that 0 <= x <= 2 z = abs(x1) The rest of the model is such that we cannot assume we minimize z. This is therefore a non convex constraint. The method I used works for any function of x . In order to model z = f(x) we introduce one binary x i... [More]
Tags: modeling 