This past Thursday, I flew (after a two hour delay) on Air Canada from Bradley Airport to Toronto since I was to speak at Analytics Day at the University of Waterloo. The conference was organized by Dr. Fatma Gzara, who is a faculty member in the Department of Management Sciences there and who had also hosted me almost exactly 5 years ago for a seminar!
I accepted the invitation to be a plenary speaker at this conference and the experience was tremendous plus I always enjoy not the flight delays but the serendipity of whom you may meet while traveling.
I was put up in the stunning Delta hotel, which opened about two yeas ago, and not only was I staying at the hotel but Dr. John McCarthy, who is the Graduate Dean at UMass Amherst and a Vice Provost, was also there. I found this out while talking to two academics in the elevator and went to see him at a breakfast. I had seen John only two days prior at the UMass Honors banquet. He was in Waterloo for the annual meeting of the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools!
And there was another luminary staying at the same hotel, whom I had seen Thursday evening on the Canadian news - none other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I had thought that all the nicely dressed men were actually hotel staff but they were security guards. I saw Trudeau not only yesterday morning as I was getting picked up to go to the conference but also when I returned to the hotel. I took the photo of him entering the limo below. Since I was born in Canada, this was extra special.
Predictive and Prescriptive Models of Cybercrime an Cybersecurity Investments Under Network Vulnerability. The conference was well-advertised and attracted practitioners as well as academics from numerous universities in the Toronto area. Dr. Gzara runs the Waterloo Analytics and Optimization Lab. She had taken part in the recent INFORMS Analytics conference in Orlando and in her presentation included the following slide which was generated by a text mining program of all the abstracts at the INFORMS conference.
There were opening remarks by the Associate Dean of Engineering at Waterloo. The full conference schedule can be viewed here.
I very much enjoyed the talk Optimizing Supply Chains with
Advancd Analytics presented by Pete Devenyi and Scott Wahl of Dematic
Since there were both industry and academic talks the discussions were great and the day flew by much too quickly. The Dematic presenters stated that they are trying to solve the problem "of the tyranny of now". Customers when ordering online want their orders to be delivered asap. Without the right analytics firms don't have visibility, which is critical in e-commerce. Dematic also uses descriptive analytics to figure out bottlenecks and is looking towards work force optimization and item storage optimization. Visualization analytics can reveal where there are bottlenecks in terms of processes in a grocery distribution center, for example. Grocery distribution centers are completely different from e-commerce ones, since grocery orders are placed every day. It may cost $100 million to automate a grocery DC. There is even pallet optimization that needs to be done.
The third presentation was by Chad Elkadri, Reza Farahani, and Hany Kashif of SOTI.
my collaborator, Professor Tilman Wolf, presented our latest work on the Internet of Things at the IEEE Berlin conference.
SOTI builds partnerships with OEMs and is in 170 countries. Partners include device manufacturers and also operating system companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
Then it was time for lunch which included all sorts of wrap sandwiches - I chose the salmon one as well as salads and fresh fruits plus a tray of sweets.
The second presentation after the lunch was by the Deloitte Consulting Canada group. The speakers were: Snehar Patel and Niraj Dalmia and a consultant. Since I have had one of my former students work for Deloitte (Christina Calvaneso) I also was looking forward to this talk.
Another example, which they spoke on, which reminded of a project that some of my Opertaions Management students did a while back in my Transportation and Logistics class at the Isenberg School and that was on modeling patient flow from an emergency room in a hospital. Deloitte is taking data from clients and then building models and this is the direction that consulting is going in they told the audience.
Dr. Gzara, the organizer, was the last speaker of the day and gave an
excellent talk on working with one of her industry partners - Dematic.
She spoke on her group's work on using data from a client's warehouse
(and the data is by no means complete) to do diagnostics and to evaluate
bottlenecks and where the system processes might be improved. She
presented a series of innovative models and also spoke on how
descriptive analytics showed them that there is a high variability in
orders and some orders have as many as 31 products in them.She discussed
network flow models and also a model that I very much liked - using
community detection to also graphical depict orders as a network. How
can one use community detection and network learning to identify which
products are co-ordered. She also stated the need to do predictive
dynamic analytics for product order groupings over time.
I made sure that a photo was taken of me with Fatma for a keepsake of an intellectually rich and very stimulating day.
Route 401, is the busiest freeway in North America! I also saw signs of $10,000 penalties if a driver exceeds the speed limit by 50 kilometers (which is 30 miles) and the car also gets confiscated by the police for 7 days. This is to prevent drag racing but, given the congestion, drag racing would be a challenge in itself.
And, as one would expect, I had a delay on Air Canada on my flight back to Hartford. So I took a photo at the airport of one of the national foods of Canada and that is the Tim Hortons donuts.
an OpEd piece co-authored by my Provost at UMass Amherst, Dr. Katherine Newman! My day began with a UMass administrator and in a sense ended with one. The academic network is global and far-reaching and wonderful, I must day.
Many thanks to Dr. Fatma Gzara for a fabulous Analytics Day!