MAKING AN IMPACT 2024

‘Making an Impact’ (MAI) is a stream for everybody who uses modelling and analytics to help their organisation and their customers. It is dedicated to helping practitioners improve their effectiveness, develop their skills and knowledge, and do a better job of OR in practice. Every session of the MAI stream has been designed to provide value, whether that is through discussion and reflection on typical practical challenges, tutorials in techniques or software others have found useful, or meeting and sharing experiences with peers. 

Some of the MAI sessions and tutorials are described below. Please contact us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out more, or contribute directly. 

1. Speed Networking 

Meet your peers in a friendly, informal way, through discussions in groups of 2-3 persons with pairings changing after a fixed time span of a few minutes. 

OR is a team business, and knowing people you can turn to for ideas, feedback and support makes all the difference. But it is not always easy building your network, especially if you are shy or feel that you are an outsider. This welcoming session is a way of overcoming the barriers to networking, and enjoying yourself while you do it. 

If you have business cards, do bring them along; if not, we’ll have plenty that you can use if you choose. 

2. Fast And Furious: Lightning Talks 

At a conference like EURO, it is impossible to catch up with everything; and all too easy to stick to a single stream within your usual professional specialism. This session showcases some of the breadth of OR in action, with a set of 5-minute presentations handpicked to inspire, interest and extend your knowledge. 

Some of the presentations will be designed for this session only, others will be abbreviated versions of full talks appearing elsewhere in the conference. We will hold this session early on in the conference to give the audience the best chance of catching up with the speaker later on, and maybe going to see the full talk and other items in the stream. 

The talks will cover the full range of OR methodology across a variety of practical application areas. 

3. The Quest for the Right OR Professionals – A Hiring Perspective 

In this panel session, we explore how recruiters of OR professionals, data scientists or analytics people go about it, and address burning questions relevant to both those recruiting professionals, as well as those looking to secure a new industry position. 

How do companies and teams come to define the profile to hire, crafting the job ad? What skillset and traits do you look for, and how to you define that? How do you design a hiring process covering those aspects, and what are the challenges and best practices for the recruiting team themselves? What advice would the hiring team give their counterparts? 

Join us to learn about each other’s challenges, best-practices, and ask your own questions during a Q&A.

 

4. Generative AI For OR People: Disruptor, Enabler, Or Distraction? 

What exactly is the power of Generative AI? Are you using it? Do you think you should be? And what difference could it make in future? 

This session will be led by someone who has had the opportunity to engage at first hand with the power of such a product, and to consider just how it can be related to OR (and in particular, optimisation). The speaker will start with an introduction to Generative AI: what it is, what it does, how well it does it, the risks of using it, and the crossover with OR. 

This will lead into discussion, with the audience invited to share not only their questions, but also their own experiences, aspirations and concerns. 

5. Human-Machine Collaboration: Building Interactive Applications Quickly 

Making impact with OR often requires an end-user or other stakeholders to interact with the models and algorithms you build, or with its outcomes. With interactive applications, we can leverage the true power of human-machine collaboration, e.g. by letting users guide your optimization model with their knowledge, or enabling them to explore multiple solutions. Developing fully-fledged front-end applications - or even discovering what is the right thing to develop - can however take up a tremendous amount of time. For some analyses or projects, it is not even worth the effort. 

The Python-based framework Streamlit could be your new companion in these endeavours. In this tutorial, we demonstrate how we can use it to quickly develop a first version and iterate on that. 

6. OR Goes Kubernetes: How To Run Long Running Optimization Jobs In The Cloud 

While response time often matters in OR applications, in many cases it does not (think network design, tactical capacity planning, …). In these use cases, model usage will be dispersed over time and not warrant the constant provisioning of a high-end compute resource at all times. In our OR applications at DHL Group, we experienced that this often led to some boilerplate functionality that had to set up across use cases: Sequencing of requests, automatic deployment of workloads, status monitoring, result retrieval, etc.. In this tutorial we will share what we are currently building to replace boilerplate code with a scalable, modern tech-stack to support the deployment of tactical decision support tools. 

7. Posters: Lunchtime Drop-In Session 

Posters will display work that researchers are particularly keen to bring to the notice of practitioners. Come along to explore, view, and talk to the researcher about what this means for you. 

This session will operate as a drop-in session between 12 and 14.30 

8. From Academia To Practice: Reflections From Those Who Have Taken The Leap 

Just how different is it to work within an industry or a commercial consultancy, if you have been used to working from within academia? And how much easier is it to forge collaborations if you have experience of both sides? A panel of people who have made the move will share their experiences and lessons learned. The differences may not be the ones you expect. 

9. Excursion 

We are hoping to run an excursion to a site of interest to practitioners, during the conference. Places will be limited, so keep an eye out for details of how to sign up.

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