Thursday, January 5, 2012

Doing More Good with Great O.R. (Operations Research)

This is a time of the year when many make their New Year's resolutions: to be kinder, to spend more time with one's family, to run a marathon, write another book, visit a country you have never been to, climb Mt. Everest, swim the English Channel, get a pilot's license, run for President, to stop and smell the roses, etc.

This month's INFORMS blog challenge is, hence, appropriately, thanks to Mary Leszczynski: O.R. and Resolutions.

Upon some serious reflection (these challenges are, indeed, challenging), the theme, and, may I say, resolution that resonated with me is a slight transformation of the overall theme Doing Good with Good O.R. set forth by one of our former INFORMS Presidents, Professor Cynthia Barnhart of MIT, to:

Doing More Good with Great O.R.!

As noted in a terrific interview with Cynthia by Peter Horner in OR/MS Today, Cynthia got the theme for her presidency -- with permission -- from a plenary talk, Doing Good with Good O.R., that Professor Margaret Brandeau of Stanford University had given.

Whether tackling issues of poverty and foreclosures, hunger, inadequate healthcare, substandard transportation and infrastructure, environmental degradation, insecurity, inequity and injustice, Operations Research, through the consistent hard work and diligence of Operations Researchers, is making a difference. Disciplinary boundaries are being broken, new generations of students are being educated, research is being applied more quickly in O.R. and analytics practice, and more are joining the profession.

And according to the psychologists, and even Plato before, the keys to happiness lie in doing good! Indeed, doing good, feels good.