Assessing the Environmental Impact of Fast Shipping: Toward Sustainable Ranking Solutions

Online retail has grown significantly in recent years, in part because of the convenience of shopping from anywhere and having goods delivered directly to one’s doorstep. Many consumers have come to expect fast shipping as a standard part of the online shopping experience, with 80% of consumers now expecting delivery within two days. For this article, we collaborated with Wayfair to quantify the causal effects of fast delivery promises on consumer choices using a large-scale field experiment in which Wayfair randomly removed fast delivery promises from the product ranking pages consumers saw online.



Inside Story

Analytics (Smarter Decisions) for (a Better) Everyone (World)

This issue of OR/MS Today happens to include a lot of analytics. Although we do have Analytics magazine for most of the industry-focused and business analytics insights and content, the O.R. community can certainly share in the analytics love.

Presidential Punk Rock O.R.

Smarter Decisions for a Better World: Telling Our StORy

The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and its acronym, “INFORMS,” are not entirely illustrative to those outside of our discipline. We have always had to work hard to explain our expertise to others, and often, our main message got lost along the way. To me, it seemed like a tagline would help us better articulate our expertise to the world. The new tagline of “Smarter decisions for a better world” communicates INFORMS’ mission and values to our members, our peers and the public in a concise and impactful manner.

HQ Highlights

The Power of a Few Words

At INFORMS, the professional home of approximately 12,000 members, we understand the power of words and take great care in what we put into the world. Over the last year, we have spent a great deal of time and effort in creating a tagline that encompasses our great community and everyone in it. Something we can put out to the world to describe who we are and what we do. Just a few powerful words that allow us to shine a light on INFORMS.

Issues in Education

Challenges for Mathematicians Transitioning to Teach in a Business School

The learning strengths of business students differ from those trained in the mathematical sciences. Our comfort zone is a logic-based learning format, e.g., theorem-proof. We enjoy wrestling with an abstract mystery without needing a specific problem to be solved. We tend to be “big picture” thinkers. In comparison, business students like to focus on the details of a specific well-structured, real-world, applied problem. They are energized by experiential learning in group settings and give-and-take discussions. We can use these strengths to teach big-picture concepts.


Gaining Real-World Experience Through Pro Bono Work

Data analytics is a rapidly growing field with a high demand for professionals. However, many students or recent graduates of certificate programs in data analytics lack real-world experience to showcase their skills to potential employers. Fortunately, there is an excellent opportunity for these students to gain valuable experience while also contributing to the community: by volunteering with nonprofit organizations to analyze their data.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Op-ed

Op-ed: New Laws Are Putting the Well-Being of University Faculty, Staff and Students, and Our Institutions, At Risk: Here’s What We Can Do

The past two years have seen a surge of laws proposed in U.S. state legislatures dedicated to the proposition that admissions, teaching, research and service – the core activities of colleges and universities – are compromised by a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and that considerations of racial and social justice are counter to our civic values and academic norms and harmful to students and the research enterprise.

Subject to ...

Revealing a Less-Traveled Road

Why is operations research (O.R.) so obscure? Perhaps its interdisciplinary nature gives O.R. so many names, which keeps the discipline hidden, even if not intentionally. There is also still a gap between the theory and practice of O.R., and it is less trivial to start using O.R. tools compared to, for instance, artificial intelligence (AI) technologies (just think about the recent success of chatbots such as ChatGPT). Or are people from the field just so shy and introverted that doing some marketing of the area would make them uncomfortable?

Roundtable Profile

SAS: Evolution of an Analytics Leader

Founded in 1976, SAS is the founder and future of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics. People who lugged boxes of punch cards to the computer lab to run code include some of the earliest users of SAS®. Today, people using the fastest AI and analytics platforms on the market are also SAS users.

INFORMS Initiatives

Increasing Underrepresented Students’ Exposure to OR/MS through K-12 Outreach

The INFORMS Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Ambassadors Program was set up to foster collaboration and promote a diverse, equitable and inclusive operations research and management science (OR/MS) community. The K-12 outreach project is a continuation of the larger 2022 DEI Ambassador Program strategic initiative. The 2023 project enhances efforts to create and disseminate standard materials for INFORMS student chapters to start and maintain outreach initiatives. The long-term goal is to increase the exposure to OR/MS for students from underrepresented groups through high school outreach activities.

Member Insights

brain with gears
The Hard Skill of Problem-Solving

This article presents my perspective that O.R. is broadly applicable because we develop a measurable hard skill in problem-solving, as contrasted with the traditional idea that problem-solving is a “soft skill” that is hard to teach and quantify.

Member Spotlight

Exploring Model Thinking: An Interview with Richard Larson

In a recent interview, I sat down with Richard Larson, author of the new book “Model Thinking for Everyday Life.” In this Q&A, we delve into the concept of model thinking and its application in our daily lives. Larson shares his insights on the book, what inspired him to write it and why it stands out from other decision-making books in the market. Join us as we explore the fascinating world of model thinking with Richard Larson.

Analytics Advice

two heads and chat boxes
Finding an Analytics Internship

This article is the first in a series titled “Analytics Advice” in which topics and content draw from the collective experience and wisdom of the INFORMS community to provide advice on topics of interest to analytics students and early-career professionals. A question is posed to the community and the responses are edited into an article.

International O.R.

people around globe
Human Connection: The People Behind the Numbers

Amid the sea of articles and tutorials about data, there was a gap – a niche yearning to be filled. It was the realm of human connection, the overlooked world of people and the soft skills that make or break a career in analytics. And so, I eagerly embraced this path as a storyteller of the people behind the numbers.

Student Perspectives

Detecting and Mitigating Disparities in Preventive Care and Healthcare Delivery

Disparities in healthcare access and delivery have long been a significant concern worldwide, and contribute to unequal health outcomes and hinder achieving optimal population health. However, with recent giant leaps in artificial intelligence (AI) and operations research (O.R.), there is great potential to detect and mitigate these disparities, improving preventive care and healthcare delivery. O.R. can help optimize resource allocation, improve logistics and enhance decision-making processes in healthcare systems.

Conference Previews

Still time to register for #INFORMS2023 in Phoenix!

Join the more than 6,000 students and academic and industry experts on October 15-18 at the Phoenix Convention Center in downtown Phoenix for a one-of-a-kind opportunity to connect with the INFORMS community, as well as network with prospective employers and employees.

2023 Winter Simulation Conference Set for San Antonio, Texas

Please join us in San Antonio, Texas, for the leading conference in the field of simulation! The Winter Simulation Conference (WSC) 2023 will be held December 10-13 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter. The theme of WSC 2023 is “Simulation for Resilient Systems” and will highlight the vital role that simulation plays in designing, planning and operating resilient systems under uncertainty.

Last Word

Chapter Excellence Awards

There are currently 19 INFORMS chapters and each one is doing great work and offers many opportunities to learn from each other. So, how do you recognize the work these chapters do while also providing better guidance for chapters and sharing best practices?

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