From Katie Scarlett O’Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler to Pretzel Rods to Frankenstein for President to Taxi Wars: One Odd OR Odyssey

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The Exact Sciences Division & Social Sciences Division of ICUB invite you to an interdisciplinary event which will take place on the 26th of June at the Conference Room of the Faculty of Mathematics and Informatics (UB), starting at 14.00.


How does a researcher go from fashioning a pilot for the sequel to Gone with The Wind to designing pretzel rods to creating a U.S. presidential candidate to resolving a taxi war? And what lessons for application of operations research can be learned from these experiences? These seemingly disparate problems are linked by two common factors – each problem can be addressed by application of a combination of probability, statistics, and operations research, and each problem in succession represents a surprising extension of the previous problem. In this talk Professor Cochran will provide an overview of each of these problems and how they are connected.


James J. Cochran is Professor of Applied Statistics and the Rogers-Spivey Faculty Fellow in the Department of Information Systems, Statistics, and Management Science of The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration. He earned a PhD in Statistics from the University of Cincinnati and has been a Visiting Scholar with Stanford University, University of South Africa, Universidad de Talca, and Pôle Universitaire Léonard De Vinci.

Professor Cochran’s research interests include statistical methods (particularly linear models), statistical learning, sample based and Bayesian optimization, and applications of statistics and operations research to real problems from a wide variety of disciplines. He has published over three dozen articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and seven textbooks in statistics, analytics, and operations research. He was co-editor of the Anthology of Statistics in Sports that was published in 2005 as part of the ASA-SIAM Series on Statistics and Applied Probability, and he is co-editor of the Oxford Press Anthology of Statistics in Sports I, II, and III (forthcoming).

Professor Cochran has served as a consultant for many companies, government agencies, and NPOs. In 2008 he co-founded Statistics Without Borders, and he established an international education workshop series and has organized workshops in Uruguay, South Africa, Colombia, India, Argentina, Kenya, Cameroon, Croatia, and Cuba. He was the General Chair of the 2005 INFORMS Conference and he organized and chaired the 2008 ORPA Conference on Using Operations Research to Address Urban Transport and
Water Resource Management Issues in Africa.

In 2008 Professor Cochran received the American Statistical Association’s Significant Contributor Award for his contributions to statistics in sports. He received the 2008 Prize for the Teaching of OR/MS Practice from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences and the 2010 Statistical Education Award from Mu Sigma Rho (the national honorary society for statistics). In 2006 Professor Cochran was elected to the International Statistics Institute, in 2011 he was named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association, and in 2014 he received the American Statistical Association’s Founders Award, and in 2015 he received the American Statistical Association’s Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society.

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