Optimizing business in a data-driven world subject of INFORMS keynote by IBM's Pulleyblank

Pittsburgh, PA, October 19, 2006 -- Dr. William Pulleyblank, Vice President of IBM's Center for Business Optimization, will present a Keynote Address titled "Optimization Everywhere: Five Critical Issues" at the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS ) annual meeting in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, November 8, 2006.

In his address, Dr. Pulleyblank will discuss how over the last two decades we have seen massive increases in the amount and types of data being captured digitally. In addition to conventional business data collected in corporate databases, there are increasing amounts of machine-generated data being produced and collected. At the same time, we see remarkable advances in the availability and price performance of computing platforms that can be used to support business decisions based on this data. These factors have created numerous opportunities and challenges. Specifically he will address five major issues:

  • How do we deal with massive amounts of "noisy" data?
  • Can we develop adequate methods for handling risk and uncertainty?
  • How should we deal with issues of distributed data and computation?
  • What does it require for operational systems to match the sophistication of long term planning systems?
  • How do we adapt these capabilities to the emerging networked business world?

Businesses are steadily, but slowly, transforming the way that they perform their operations and planning. The types of tools that were at one time limited to very large enterprises are now being used by smaller businesses and even individuals. There is an increasing desire to combine data from a variety of sources with analytic methods to enable more rapid and better decision-making. This is driven in part by the economic pressures created by the need to both compete globally and to exploit global resources, and is enabled by the maturing of methods, tools and underlying technologies.

Dr. Pulleyblank will discuss approaches that are yielding success in dealing with these issues.

  • EVENT: Optimization Everywhere? Five Critical Issues
  • DATE: Wednesday, November 8, 2006
  • TIME: 11:40 AM – 12:30 PM
  • PLACE: David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Ballroom B, Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Pulleyblank is the Vice President of the Center for Business Optimization within IBM Business Consulting Services. This group is leading the development and deployment of high powered optimization and analytic capabilities to improve the business performance of IBM's clients and customers. Previously, he was Director of Exploratory Server Systems and Director of the Deep Computing Institute within IBM Research. These teams provided broad-based support to IBM's server activities as well as leading research in high performance computing. This included the Blue Gene project, which led to the creation of the Blue Gene/L supercomputer, since November 2004, certified as the most powerful supercomputer in the world.

Over 3,000 operations researchers are expected to attend the INFORMS Annual Meeting November 5 – 8 in Pittsburgh. The meeting's theme is Celebrate the Renaissance of Operations Research. Information about the annual meeting is at http://meetings.informs.org/Pittsburgh06/. Additional plenary speakers include former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and Patrick Harker, Dean of the Wharton School.


The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS®) is an international scientific society with 10,000 members, including Nobel Prize laureates, dedicated to applying scientific methods to help improve decision-making, management, and operations. Members of INFORMS work in business, government, and academia. They are represented in fields as diverse as airlines, health care, law enforcement, the military, financial engineering, and telecommunications. The INFORMS website is www.informs.org. More information about operations research is at www.scienceofbetter.org.

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