ISE Invades San Francisco

ISE faculty and students descend upon INFORMS in force armed with big data and analytics

To see the INFORMS Conference photo gallery, go to ISE Invades San Francisco.

The business world has learned that data and analytics offer a significant competitive advantage. This has led to an explosion in the use of analytics across organizations of all shapes and sizes. Likewise, professionals who know how to decode and apply insight into this data are in greater demand than ever before.

Each winter the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) holds its annual conference to showcase leading research and practical applications of analytics. This year ISE faculty and students descended on the City by the Bay to present their solutions to some of the most challenging analytics issues in the industry.

Over the four day conference, ISE’s team of researchers presented their findings at over 20 sessions. They spoke on a wide range of topics including improving healthcare methods, analyzing financial markets and re-engineering food distribution systems. But the researchers weren’t just there to teach, they were there to learn as well. The conference was an opportunity for students to discover how others are using big data to optimize real time decision systems, manage risk, streamline supply chains and manage revenue. They gained insight on how to help decision makers better understand the value of analytics as a competitive driver. These are skills that will serve them well as they get ready to start their careers.

On the first night of the conference, six ISE students competed against fellow scholars from around the country in a national poster contest. This was part of the Minority Issues Forum and Poster Competition. ISE’s hopes were high as three of its six students – Karen Hicklin, Nisha Nataraj and Rachel Townsley – made it to the finals. The celebration began when they announced that Nisha Nataraj had received second place. “The Minority Issues Forum was a great platform to showcase our work on modeling breast cancer and diabetes as comorbidities,” said Nataraj. “The validation from the poster competition has motivated us to continue working on this socially relevant issue.”

The following day, ISE’s INFORMS Student Organization received the Cum Laude Student Chapter Award as part of the National Student Awards Ceremony. INFORMS gives the award to chapters that have shown outstanding performance and participation. “It was an honor to accept the award on behalf of the NCSU INFORMS Student Chapter,” said Ph.D. student David Cornejo. “The award recognizes NC State’s leadership in the Operations Research community and highlights our commitment to promoting learning and service. We look forward to what the next year will bring for our organization and the graduate program.”


INFORMS is the world’s largest organization for advanced analytics professionals. It focuses on providing data analytics and operations research information, training and best practices to its members and industry at large. Much like the American Medical Association (AMA) is to the medical industry, INFORMS is the valued thought leader for the analytics industry. Companies around the world leverage its members’ analytics models, methodologies and certification best practices.