2021 Franz Edelman Competition: OCP

For more than four decades, winners of the Edelman Award have been recognized for transforming how we approach some of the world’s most complex problems. This year’s finalists are no exception, with revolutionary contributions in robotics, cancer radiotherapy efficiency, unmanned warehouse technology, mining efficiency and the impact to chemical facilities, scheduling and production at manufacturing plants, and food assistance amid emergency responses. Since its inception, finalists for the Edelman Award have contributed to a cumulative impact of over $302 billion, supported lifesaving efforts across the globe, and transformed how the world does business.

Joining me for this episode are Dimitris Bertsimas, Boeing Professor of Operations Research and associate dean of business analytics at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Nada El Majdoub, executive vice president of performance management at OCP, to discuss their team’s finalist entry for the 2021 competition.

We built a multi-period, mixed-integer optimization model that modeled the entire supply chain of OCP in order to maximize overall profitability. The model makes decisions about mines, physical treatments, chemical facilities, inventory facilities and the port for global distribution, as well as deciding the sales portfolios for clients in a way that unified many aspects of the firm, including the supply chain team and the sales team.

Interviewed this episode:

Dimitris Bertsimas, Nada El Majdoub

MIT Sloan School of Management, OCP

Dimitris Bertsimas is the Boeing Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management, a Professor of Operations Research, and the Associate Dean for the Master of Business Analytics at MIT.

A faculty member since 1988, his research interests include optimization, stochastic systems, machine learning, and their application. In recent years, he has worked in robust optimization, statistics, healthcare, transportation and finance. Bertsimas was a cofounder of Dynamic Ideas, LLC, which developed portfolio management tools for asset management.  In 2002, the assets of Dynamic Ideas were sold to American Express. He is also the founder of Dynamic Ideas Press, a publisher of scientific books, the cofounder of Benefits Science, a company that designs health care plans for companies, of Dynamic Ideas Financial, a company that provides financial advice to customers, of Alpha Dynamics, an asset management company, P2 Analytics, an analytics  consulting company and of MyA health, a personalized health care advice company.

Bertsimas has coauthored more than 200 scientific papers and the following books: Introduction to Linear Optimization (with J. Tsitsiklis, Athena Scientific and Dynamic Ideas, 2008); Data, Models, and Decisions (with R. Freund, Dynamic Ideas, 2004);  Optimization over Integers (with R. Weismantel, Dynamic Ideas, 2005); and The Analytics Edge (with A. O’Hair andW. Pulleyblank, Dynamic Ideas, 2016).   He is former department editor of Optimization for Management Science and  of Operations Research in Financial Engineering. Bertsimas has supervised 59 doctoral and 31 Master students. He is currently  supervising 22 doctoral students. A member of the National Academy of Engineering and an INFORMS fellow, he has received numerous research awards, including the Harold Larnder Prize (2016), the Philip Morse Lecturship prize (2013), the William Pierskalla best paper award in health care (2013), best paper award in Trapsoration (2013), the Farkas Prize (2008), the Erlang Prize (1996), the SIAM Prize in Optimization (1996), the Bodossaki Prize (1998), and the Presidential Young Investigator Award (1991–1996). He has also received recognition for his educational contributions: The Jamieson prize (2013) and the Samuel M. Seegal prize (1999).

Bertsimas holds a BS in electrical engineering and computer science from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, as well as an MS in operations research and a PhD in applied mathematics and operations research from MIT.

Nada El Majdoub is the executive vice president of performance management at OCP.