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PhD Student Michael Mark Wins Team Contest at INFORMS 2018

© 2018 EPFL

© 2018 EPFL

This fall the INFORMS 2018 annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, featured its first “Freestyle O.R. Supreme: Frame the Problem” contest. Three teams of students and budding professionals—each advised by a seasoned O.R. practitioner—competed to frame a consulting problem in real time.

In his role of a client facing a supply chain nightmare, Jim Williams of FICO laid out the challenge for the participants, who then had 2 hours to formulate and present their solutions. The goal was to optimize the decisions along a cheese producer’s supply chain, starting with ordering the right amount of raw products from the commodity market and finishing with distributing the maturing product among the available warehouses. The race between the competing teams was tight, but eventually Michael Mark (EPFL) and his teammates (from UCLA, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Georgia), led by Aaron Burciaga (Accenture), convinced the jury with their solution and claimed first place.

On the last day of the conference, Michael presented a paper on Robust Estimation of Controlled Hawkes Processes, as part of a sponsored session by the Data Mining cluster on applications in Data Science—his first talk at a major international academic conference.

Author: Carole Bonardi