Online Resource Allocation with Application to Revenue Management
Sunday, November 18th 2017
Prof. David Simchi-Levi
Professor of Engineering Systems at MIT
Chairman of Opalytics
Online resource allocation is a fundamental problem in OR and CS with applications such as offering products to customers, distributing jobs to candidates, assigning advertisers to ad slots, and matching drivers to passengers. These problems can be abstracted as follows: there are fixed resources, each of which can be sold at multiple known prices. These resources must be allocated on-the-fly, without assuming anything about future demand. In this talk we cover the CS and OR literature on the problem and in particular focus on two techniques: exploration and exploitation methods, as well as competitive analysis.
In the latter case, we review new algorithms that achieve tight competitive ratios under the integral or asymptotic settings. Our algorithms are simple, intuitive and robust and our competitive ratios are provably optimal, for every possible set of prices.
In the former case, we discuss an efficient and effective dynamic pricing algorithm, which builds upon the Thompson sampling algorithm used for multi-armed bandit problems by incorporating inventory constraints into the pricing decisions. The algorithm proves to have both strong theoretical performance guarantees as well as promising numerical performance results when compared to other algorithms developed for the same setting.
Finally, we compare the performance of both techniques, exploration and exploitation methods and competitive analysis, with real-world and synthetic data from various retail applications.
Prof. David Simchi-Levi is considered one of the premier thought leaders in supply chain management and business analytics. His research focuses on developing and implementing robust and efficient techniques for operations management. He has published widely in professional journals on both practical and theoretical aspects of supply chain and revenue management.
Making Good Decisions in Difficult Moments
Monday, November 19th 2017
Mystery Guest Speaker
Due to the nature of the presentation, our speaker will need to remain anonymous until the program at the Annual Conference Luncheon hosted by the Fellows on Monday, November 19. Our mystery guest speaker has presented more than 2,500 times over the last 30 years to audiences that have included such dignitaries as Bill Gates, President Clinton, the Prime Minister of Canada and to hundreds of Fortune 500 companies. The speaker will address how to succeed in challenging circumstances and achieve best outcomes while navigating difficult decisions. A national speaker and author, our mystery presenter will share veteran secrets for engaging an audience and captivating the attention of a group whether communicating with students, colleagues or employees. So be sure your departure plans allow you to participate all day Monday!