IDI Stands Tall at INFORMS Annual Conference in Austin, Texas

Five IDI staff members attended this year's INFORMS Annual Conference in Austin, Texas from Nov 7 - 10.  IDI staff contributed in a variety of ways.

Pictured left to right are Greg Parnell, Robin Dillon-Merrill, and Freeman Marvin at INFORMS.

Freeman Marvin presented an overview of the Soft Skills Workshop that he and Don Buckshaw have organized and taught for the past three years at the INFORMS Practice Conference. The workshop teaches interviewing and elicitation skills, problem framing, team building, and best practices for interacting with clients and decision makers.

Robin Dillon-Merrill chaired the session on "Decision Analysis for Terrorism and Natural Disasters" and also presented a paper co-authored with Gary Smith and Steve Heidorn on using case studies to teach decision analysis.

Pat Driscoll, the outgoing president of the INFORMS Military Applications Society (MAS), was honored for his service to the society. MAS was well represented with 65 presentations across 17 sessions during the conference.

Greg Parnell chaired the session on Military Decision Analysis and contributed to a number of papers authored by colleagues in the Systems Engineering Department at West Point.  One example was a presentation on Decision Focused Transformation (DFT) by doctoral student Rob Dees.  Rob showed the DFT approach and software that he, Greg Parnell, and Matt Dabkowski have developed.  The approach shows the decision maker how to re-weight the attributes when the available alternatives don't span the variability of the originally elicited swing weights.

Laura McLay presented or contributed to six papers.  She led a panel discussion on Social Networking and Operations Research (see her blog Punk Rock Operations Research at and contributed to the session sponsored by the new INFORMS Society for Public Programs, Services and Needs (SPPSN).  Laura presented her work on optimizing dispatching policies for Emergency Medical Services and how to think about equitable dispatching protocols.

For additional information on any of these topics, please email the author directly.