New applications of computing are being enabled by instrumentation of physical entities, aggregation of data, and the analysis of the data. The resulting integration of information and control permits efficient and effective management of complex man-made systems. Examples include transportation systems, buildings, electrical grids, health care systems, governments, and supply chains. Achieving this vision requires extensive data analysis, modeling, and optimization — in short, the application of operations research. In this talk some early examples of the use of OR to enable this vision will be described. Our field’s potential and some emerging challenges will also be discussed.
Brenda Dietrich is an IBM Fellow and Vice President in the IBM Research Divisions. She leads IBM’s research activities in Business Analytics and Mathematical Sciences, and supports software products and consulting in these areas. She is responsible for both basic research in computational mathematics and related fields, and the development of novel business applications based on the application of mathematical models within industry. She has been the president of INFORMS and is an INFORMS Fellow. She holds a dozen patents, has co-authored numerous publications, and co-edited the book Mathematics of the Internet: E-Auction and Markets. She holds a BS in Mathematics from the University of North Carolina and an MS and PhD in OR/IE from Cornell. Her personal research includes manufacturing scheduling, services resource management, transportation logistics, integer programming, and combinatorial duality.