March 2019

In this episode we will explore three different applications of O.R. and analytics in sports, from basketball, to baseball, and beyond! Joining me for this episode are Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois to discuss NCAA March Madness basketball brackets, Michael Trick of Carnegie Mellon University to give insight into Major League Baseball game scheduling, and Walt DeGrange of CANA Advisors and past chairman of the INFORMS SpORts Section to discuss current and developing applications of O.R. and analytics in sports.

Interviewed this episode:

Sheldon Jacobson, Michael Trick, Walt DeGrange

University of Illinois, Carnegie Mellon University, CANA Advisors

Sheldon Jacobson received B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in mathematics from McGill University (in 1981 and 1983, respectively), and both a M.S. and a Ph.D. in operations research from Cornell University (in 1986 and 1988, respectively). Subsequently, he joined the faculty of the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University in 1988, and then the Department of Industrial & Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech in 1993. In 1999, he joined the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, moving to the Department of Computer Science in 2006. From 2012 to 2014, he served as the Program Director for Operations Research at the National Science Foundation. He has served on the National Research Council’s Committee on Airport Passenger Screening: Backscatter X-Ray Machines (2013-2015) and the National Academy of Medicine’s Standing Committee for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Strategic National Stockpile (2015-2017).

Michael Trick is the author of fifty professional publications and is the editor of five volumes of refereed articles. Trick has consulted extensively with the United States Postal Service on supply chain design, with Major League Baseball and a number of college basketball conferences on scheduling issues, and with companies such as Motorola and Sony on machine scheduling. Trick is a Fellow of INFORMS.

Walt DeGrange has been with CANA Advisors since 2014 and has over 20 years of experience in scoping, performing and implementing analytic solutions. He is an Operations Research Professional with implemented analytics solutions in Government, Industry, and Academia. He is currently the Course Director for the Military Operations Research Society (MORS) Critical Skills for Analytics Professionals and a past Chairperson of the INFORMS Sports Analytics Section.

Walt is also an educator and teaches online for the University of Arkansas and serves as an Executive Practicum Advisor at the NC State Poole School of Management. As a Team CANA speaker and course instructor, he contributes his experience and skills to the CANA Advisors’ Learning and Development seminars and workshops.

In his role as the Director of Analytics Capabilities (DAC) at CANA Advisors, he is responsible for recruiting, training, and equipping all of CANA’s analytics professionals. Walt also leads CANA’s sports analytics research area and coordinates the monthly CANA Advisors Roundtable or CAR as we like to call it. The CAR provides team members with a virtual online opportunity to share tips, analytical techniques, and discuss recent project successes.