2024 Franz Edelman Award finalist: American Airlines

Welcome to the latest episode of Resoundingly Human, the podcast brought to you by INFORMS, the leading association for professionals and students who apply science, math, technology, and analytics to make smarter decisions for a better world.  I’m your host Ashley Kilgore and thank you for joining me for the next episode in a special series highlighting the 2024 Franz Edelman Award finalist teams!

The Franz Edelman Award is presented each year to an organization that has made a transformative contribution to society, all with the power of advanced analytics. In the leadup to the 2024 INFORMS Analytics Conference in sunny Orlando this April, we’ll be highlighting the incredible contributions of this year’s finalists. The winner will be announced at the conference, during the Edelman Gala.

Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with representatives of the Edelman Award finalist team from American Airlines to share some special insight into their project, which utilizes optimization and AI techniques to develop industry-leading technology called HEAT, which is short for Hub Efficiency Analytics Tool, that helps the airline more effectively manage irregular operations during severe weather.

Since it’s initial deployment in April 2022, HEAT has been used over 100 times at American Airlines largest hub. It prevented over 1,000 flight cancelations and diversions across our network. An analysis conducted by the IUC found out that the recent HEAT usage at DFW airport during severe weather events reduces up to 80% of the cancellations compared to similar events where HEAT was not used.

Interviewed this episode:

Tuell Green, Billy Wang and Duaa Serhan

American Airlines

Tuell Green is the managing director of the Operations Research & Advanced Analytics group at American Airlines, a group of 80 operations research scientists and data scientists using advanced analytics techniques to solve business problems and improve decision making across the company. Tuell has 25 years of experience applying OR solutions across several business domains at American, including flight operations, airport operations, crew scheduling, customer experience, tech ops and operations control.  He is named on 10 US patents issued for advanced analytics solutions implemented at American. Tuell’s current focus areas include accelerating American’s adoption of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve decision making across the enterprise. Tuell earned Master’s and PhD degrees in Operations Research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Billy Wang is a leader in the Operations Research and Advanced Analytics group at American Airlines. Billy has over 15 years of experience applying OR techniques in solving airline operations problems. Billy currently leads a team of Operations Research professionals developing decision-support models for the airline. Together with IT partners, he and his team have implemented production applications powered by OR models for Crew Scheduling, Crew Planning, Airport Operations, and Integrated Operations Center at American.  Billy holds a Master’s and PhD degrees in Operations Research from Virginia Tech.

Duaa Serhan is an expert of large-scale optimization models and real-time decision support systems. She is a technical lead in the Operations Research and Advanced Analytics team at American Airlines, supporting the Integrated Operations Center team. Duaa received the B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the Hashemite University, Jordan, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial and System Engineering from State University of New York at Binghamton.

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