Six Life Lessons You Didn’t Learn From Your OR Program

Optimization is frequently implemented by people whose educational background is in Operations Research or Industrial Engineering, but not Computer Science. This often results in practitioners who develop their own best practices based on trial and error while remaining silo-ed away from techniques that are common in typical IT organizations. Moreover, there is a tendency to think of optimization projects as consisting of a “hard” mathematical engine that can then be industrialized by an “easy” integration and polishing process.

The theme of this talk is that “getting the MIP equations right” is just one piece of a much larger puzzle. Optimization engines present integration, maintenance, and ease-of-use challenges that can easily dwarf the man-hours spent on the core mathematics. Luckily, the tools to address these challenges don’t need to be invented from scratch and we will introduce some of the solutions and tools to help guide businesses through implementation.

This talk provides a different perspective based on the experience of two entrepreneurs who have been building commercial optimization tools since the late 90s. Mike Watson and Pete Cacioppi worked together at the supply chain optimization company LogicTools (which was acquired by ILOG, then IBM, and the IP eventually sold to LLamasoft). Pete then spent time building the optimization tools at Opalytics (which was acquired by Accenture). And, they are now back together at Opex Analytics building optimization tools.

Dr. Michael Watson is the CEO of Opex Analytics. He is a recognized leader in the analytics and supply chain optimization world. He was an early employee and officer at LogicTools. While at IBM, he was the worldwide business leader for network design, inventory and routing solutions. He is also the co-author of Managerial Analytics and Supply Chain Network Design books. He also teaches graduate level courses within the Master in Engineering Management and the Master of Science Analytics programs at Northwestern University.

Pete Cacioppi is an Algorithm Consultant at Opex Analytics and was the first employee and Chief Scientist at LogicTools. He was the co-founder and Chief Scientist at Opalytics, and also a co-author of the Supply Chain Network Design book. Pete has decades of experience in building robust optimization applications with multiple programming languages.

Together, they discuss six lessons they have learned developing Mixed-Integer Programming based applications.


You can download the materials associated with this webinar here.


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