Advanced Analytics for Emergency Response, Bracketology, and Beyond!

For March 21, 2018

Hi WN@TL Fans,

On March 13, two days after the NCAA announced the brackets for the men’s basketball tournament, Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal gave this advice for building a better bracket:  “Pick no seed worse than a No. 12 in the first round: Don’t touch the No. 16 seeds; they are 0-132 since 1985.”

Sage advice. Sound advice. Data-driven advice.

Then along came the Retrievers and down went the Cavaliers. And it wasn’t even close.

So what to make of what appear to be hopeless odds when in fact the historic sample size is only 132? Or only 13,200?  How can analytics help us plumb the commonplace and gauge the likelihood and then the impacts of rare events?

Tomorrow night (March 21) Professor Laura Albert  will speak on “Advanced Analytics for Emergency Response, Bracketology, and Beyond!”

 Here’s how she describes her talk:

“Laura Albert will talk about how engineers use math models and analytics to solve problems and design systems. She will provide an overview of operations research and advanced analytics, and she will discuss their wide-ranging applications — focusing on examples from her research that address problems in emergency response and bracketology.”

About the Speaker

Albert is the assistant dean for graduate affairs and an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering in UW–Madison’s College of Engineering. Her research interests lie in the field of operations research and analytics, with applications in homeland security, emergency response, and public-sector problems. She has authored or coauthored more than 50 publications in archival journals and refereed proceedings, and she writes the Punk Rock Operations Research and Badger Bracketology blogs. Her research has earned several honors, including four Best Paper Awards, a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and a Department of the Army Young Investigator Award. Albert is also the INFORMS vice president for marketing, communications, and outreach. You can find her on Twitter at @lauraalbertphd.


Next week, a double-edged knife for our times: using powerful drugs including opioids to manage the powerful pain that can come with certain kinds of cancer, major injuries and other causes.  It’s an end-of-life issue and a quality-of-life issue that encompasses relief, addiction, and death by overdose—and that has led to a drug-use/drug abuse controversy.

Join us on March 28 when Professor Emerita June Dahl will speak on “The Opioid Crisis:  A Historical Perspective.”

Hope to see you soon at Wednesday Nite @ The Lab!

Thanks again,

Tom Zinnen
UW-Madison and UW-Extension