Making an Impact

Do you work in a consultancy, business or public sector organization, applying O.R. or analytics to help your organization or its customers operate better?

Then “Making an Impact” is for you.

“Making an Impact” includes a wide variety of sessions aimed at helping practitioners to do a better job.  It is organized by the EURO Working Group on Practice of OR, the network for O.R. practitioners in industry, consultancy, government and beyond (for more information about EWG-POR, see here).

At EURO2018 you will be able to:

  • Explore the challenges every practitioner faces, and share solutions
  • Try out new techniques – are they any good for you
  • See case studies showcasing important applications
  • Exchange ideas and expertise with people in similar fields
  • Meet leading academics and discover what they can do for you – and what you can do for them
  • Build your network amongst like-minded professionals

Participate in interactive sessions planned specifically for practitioners and everyone interested in improving practice, including:

The biggest factor distinguishing OR in practice from research is that you cannot do OR in practice without working with people. And not ‘average’ people, but the real individuals who have individual personal and professional needs, objectives, skills, concerns, strengths and weaknesses that will affect your project. This session will address the consultancy skills essential to successful practice. [Fuller abstract to follow]

In OR practice the ability to communicate with clients and with potential users of your tools is absolutely crucial. This session will address the typical problems and ways of addressing them. [Fuller abstract to follow]

People with OR skills and knowledge are in great demand in industry. There are many possible career paths open to OR people outside academia, whether they are starting with no more than a first degree in a scientific subject, or with a PhD and post-doctoral experience in OR. In this session, panel members with very different career paths will briefly describe their career history and current ambitions, the skills they started with, and the important developments along the way; and then open up to discussion with the audience. The purpose of this session is for people at all stages of an OR career to explore ideas about what they may want to do in the future, and what sort of development and training may be useful.

Practitioners who use MIP have a great choice of possible software. The huge choice can make it harder to make decisions, and that’s where this session should be invaluable.

Bringing together representatives from the 3 top stand-alone MIP-solvers, Gurobi, Xpress and CPLEX with representatives from 2 companies and 1 university that are heavy users of one or more of these we try to answer questions like: Why use a 3rd party solver instead of specialized heuristics? What problems have companies experienced in this approach? And of course… which solver is the best in practice?

The rise of so-called Mat-heuristic solvers that incorporate a mip-solver as part of the heuristic has seen a large increase in the last years. In this panel discussion, we make a deep dive into that world from the usability perspective.

When it comes to modern and widely accessible programming languages two camps seem to attract comparable amounts of attention and collectively dominate: R and Python.

R seems to be preferred by the statistic and data science communities, while Python seems to be the language of choice of the artificial intelligence and mathematical optimization communities. This classification is by no means limitative, since there are many other good choices such as Julia, Jump, Java, C, C++, C#, Matlab, Octave, etc.

Nevertheless, the perception that R is not for optimization may interfere with the possibility to merge great libraries and tooling for (big) data analysis with optimization.

This tutorial gives data scientists familiar with R a glimpse of how to use it for optimization and other scientists familiar with optimization a glimpse of the power of R.

The tutorial includes examples of data-driven optimization using R both as a platform to develop heuristic methods and as an interface to mathematical optimization solvers. To get the most from it, please bring your own laptop with an internet connection.

Practical application of Operations Research to real-life cases is normally aimed at “optimising” some aspects of the process under study. Measuring and communicating the impacts of the project is key to the project’s success (and indeed the whole value proposition). This session will build on the discussion initiated at the EWG-POR ‘Measuring Impact’ workshop, held in February 2018. [Fuller abstract to follow]

Ethical practice is important if practitioners are to retain the trust of their clients as well as their own self-respect. There are a number of codes of practice available for anybody who wants guidance on this. But even for the most ethical practitioner, real life can sometimes throw up ethical dilemmas, or tempt us into imperfect behaviour: perhaps fulfilling our contract obligations may require turning a blind eye to unethical conduct from the client; or the client does not want to engage with the caveats around our analysis; or we want to convince the client to employ us even where the work area is new to us, to name just a few situations where a purist approach may result in no OR work happening at all. This session will start with a short introduction to the ethical dilemmas that can arise in everyday OR, and then open out into discussion inviting participants to share their own experiences and approaches. It is intended to give an opportunity to people engaged in practical OR to reflect on their own practice and to share learning and ideas with others, so that they may be better equipped to make good choices in future.

At a EURO conference there is an enormous amount of interesting material that any one person can only see a small fraction of. This session will help boost that fraction. Each presenter will have just 5 minutes to present a lightning talk: a maximum of 20 slides at 15 seconds per slide. This will be an opportunity for presenters to get a bigger audience for your key ideas and for the audience to get a wide variety of fast-moving and stimulating talks. Details of presenters within the session will be available in due course.

O.R/Analytics/Data Science

Looking for a career outside the universities? Big and small companies from business and research centers will present their opportunities and recruitment process.

Looking for colleagues? You are welcome to represent your company in front of interested professionals and students. No sign up needed but signing up will give you priority if tables fill up. No need for powerpoints or posters.


To sign up, please contact us at

Academics and practitioners have different incentives, and different contractual, personal and professional objectives, but there are considerable areas of overlap and opportunities to learn from each other. This is the third successive EURO conference to bring academics and practitioners together for a question-and-answer panel.

Previous panels have considered the obstacles in the way of academic-practitioner collaboration, and ways of overcoming them.  This panel will focus particularly on how we can get the best from each other: what would academics like practitioners to know and do, and vice versa. A brief recap of the conclusions from previous panels will be followed by short introductions from experienced academics and practitioners, followed by questions and contributions from the audience.

One of the most important reasons for coming to a conference is to build your circle of professional acquaintance – with like-minded people who can encourage and inspire you, and with not-quite-so-like-minded people who can challenge and extend you, and with the many people who you can encourage, inspire, and challenge. However, it is not always easy to meet people when most of our time is spent sitting listening to presentations.


The speed networking session is a supportive, managed way of meeting people you don’t know: a series of short, quick-fire sharing of professional information with other participants, together with an exchange of contact details if you meet somebody you want to keep in touch with.    (Latecomers will be admitted but may have to wait for a few minutes before they can join in.)


The session will also include a short presentation about the EURO Working group on Practice of OR, aimed at support a pan-European network of practitioners.

European Excellence in Practice Award: Presentations from the shortlisted finalists will showcase some of the best examples of OR making a difference


OR in Industry:  Presentations of practical case studies from across different industries


Software for OR: Exhibition and presentations of the latest software developments from many companies


Eminent plenary and keynote speakers  on a wide variety of topics


and presentations on the latest developments in analytics, scheduling, routing, logistics, supply chain management, soft OR, behavioural OR, climate science, finance, and a host of other areas.

To keep in touch as we develop the programme, please contact the MAI EURO 2018 initiative at

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